Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

WestJet is asking the Supreme Court of Canada to hear its request to throw out a proposed class-action lawsuit that accuses the airline of sexual harassment and gender-based discrimination.

The court documents filed Thursday, the Calgary-based airline argued the allegations fall within the mandate of the Canadian Human Rights Act, and should be resolved through the human rights tribunal or workers’ compensation board, not through the courts.

READ MORE: Former B.C. flight attendant protests sexual harassment outside YVR, asked to leave

In 2017, former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis disclosed claims that Westjet broke the contractual promise of providing a harassment-free workplace after she alleged a male pilot sexually assaulted her during a stopover in Hawaii in 2010.

The airline has denied it failed to take appropriate action after she brought the sexual assault claims forward.

Lewis’ case has “opened the door for employees to avoid the comprehensive federal human rights regime established by Parliament and bring human rights claims directly to the courts,” the application for leave to appeal read.

The lawsuit, which has yet to be approved by the court as a class-action proceeding, aims to represent all of WestJet’s past and current female flight attendants whose employment contract includes the same promise.

WestJet’s first application to dismiss it was rejected by the B.C. Supreme Court in 2017. The argument was then taken to the B.C. Court of Appeal last February, where a three-judge panel ruled against the airline again.

#METOO AT WORK: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

Black Press Media has reached out to Lewis and the airline for comment.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

COLUMN: Looking back to a time of optimism

The first lunar landing 50 years ago was a time to celebrate dreams and accomplishments

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Showers to start weekend, sun returning soon

Environment Canada forecasts rain on Saturday and the heat returning next week

UPDATE: Penticton resident’s dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Okanagan e-scooter company foils robberies

OGO Scooters staff helped return stolen property three times in 1st week of operations in Kelowna

Olympian brings women empowerment in sports to the Okanagan

Two-time medalist Natalie Spooner joined the Girls Rock the Rink event in Kelowna

Okanagan school district monitoring McCurdy supportive housing plan debate

Top priority for board of education is to maintain safety integrity of local schools

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

Most Read