On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

Employees stage walk-out at Kicking Horse Resort over allegations of workplace harassment

Three employees refused to show up to their shifts today over the allegations

Several female employees are refusing to work at a Kicking Horse Mountain Resort business, over allegations of workplace harassment and an unsafe workplace.

Three employees did not show up to their scheduled shifts on March 15, citing that they do not feel comfortable or safe while working.

The move comes after an internal investigation was launched into one of the managers at the resort. Several employees made allegations that they faced bullying and a toxic environment. The manager was removed for two weeks, before being reinstated to his position last Friday.

Amelia McLean, an employee at the resort who walked out on Monday, stated that at least twice the manager made unsolicited comments to her on her appearance, which she says constitutes sexual harassment, something she has expressed to upper management at the resort.

“Once, I was working, and he saw my pass hanging from my pocket and he took a good look, studied it for a second and said oh, you’re pretty hot. That was pretty early in the season and I remember going home and telling my boyfriend that I thought it was pretty weird, but I guess it’s kind of like a boys club,” said McLean.

“Another time I was just handing him something and he said ‘thanks, beautiful’, before backtracking and saying ‘thanks, employee’. So obviously he realized he had said something kind of strange and was trying to backpedal.”

The employee code of conduct at Kicking Horse defines workplace harassment as a single incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, comment, bullying or action that the person ought to reasonably know will cause offence or humiliation to a worker.

“I’ve witnessed a few of these incidents,” added another female Kicking Horse employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

“One time Amelia was wearing a shirt and made a comment that it was cold, and he looked her up and down and said ‘yeah, maybe if you put more clothes on’.

“It’s just comments like that, that are inappropriate in general, the way he speaks.”

She added that other employees have spoken to the manager concerning language used that has made multiple people uncomfortable throughout the season.

She was not scheduled to work on Monday, or she would have participated in the walk-out.

Both employees added that it’s not just the female staff.

“The boys feel it too, especially when he came back to work, they were all checking in with us to see how we are feeling,” added the unnamed employee.

The employee added that the alleged behaviour was not limited to being directed solely at female staff.

Chelsea Orme-Williams, another employee, spoke about her experience working with a medical condition, stating that she felt humiliated when the manager told her in front of other staff that she had to let people know where she was going and when she was going to the washroom.

“In certain situations, I don’t have time to tell people where I’m going and regardless, that’s my business,” she said.

“He singled me out, opened up by saying ‘I’m not singling you out’ and in that situation, I felt embarrassed and humiliated.”

While she was not a part of the walkout, she said she would have had she been scheduled to work.

All three pointed out that this kind of behaviour is in direct violation of the employee code of conduct, which states that “every RCR [Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns Kicking Horse Mountain Resort] employee is responsible and accountable for creating an organizational culture of respect by ensuring one’s behaviour is respectful and appropriate at all times and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.”

Disrespectful behaviour is defined by the code of conduct as comments, actions or gestures that are humiliating, offensive, hurtful or belittling.

All three employees said that they raised their concerns with human resources at the resort during the initial investigation and were shocked when they were abruptly informed that he would be returning to work, following a meeting and a planned apology. The three employees said that they had not heard from HR throughout the process, apart from being informed he would be returning.

In the meeting, at least one other employee walked out.

“We should not have been asked as employees to be in that meeting at 8 a.m. before work, following everyone’s concerns, people’s attitudes, the allegations, I do not consider this a safe work environment,” said Orme-Williams.

“To be forced to stand in a room with a man that has bullied you sexually harassed others, been inappropriate in his behaviour, I find that extremely difficult. I’m not surprised that people have walked out.”

All three have said that they would like to continue to work at the resort.

“The health, safety and well-being of our staff is the number one priority, we treat all incidents with care and the process is ongoing,” read a statement from the resort.

Kicking Horse declined to comment further on the situation, citing that the investigation was ongoing.

None of the allegations have been brought before the RCMP.

READ MORE: Golden’s Daley Bread Bakery opens doors

READ MORE: Kamloops man charged with forcible confinement, assault, firearms offences

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

sexual harassment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Theo's now delivering to Summerland
Penticton Greek restaurant now delivering to Summerland

Theo’s restaurant is the first to deliver food to Summerland in their ‘Squidmobile’

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Banks Crescent in Summerland on Friday afternoon. The fire began as a stovetop fire but resulted in significant damages. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Fire results in damage to Summerland home

Crews called on Friday, April 9 following stovetop fire

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

The Town of Oliver’s Town Offices, which the town wants to get designated a heritage site. (Black Press)
Oliver council to weigh nixing alerts for water leaks

Staff say the policy has served its purpose in fixing the majority of leaks

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Sun Peaks is tracking rising COVID-19 cases. (Kamloops This Week Photo)
Sun Peaks sees spike in COVID-19 cases at end of ski season

On April 9, there were 15 positive cases confirmed.

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Most Read