SOURCE: Klein Lawyers LLP

Klein Lawyers LLP

May 28, 2015 17:52 ET

Class Action for Female RCMP Members

Lawsuit Alleges Widespread Discrimination and Harassment

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - May 28, 2015) - On Monday, June 1, 2015, former RCMP constable Janet Merlo will have her class action certification application heard in the B.C. Supreme Court. The lawsuit is brought on behalf of female RCMP Members, Civilian Members and Public Service Employees who were subjected to gender-based discrimination, bullying and harassment at the RCMP. More than 360 current and former RCMP members and employees have registered to report their personal experiences with sexualized harassment and discrimination while at the RCMP and to support the lawsuit. About a third of these women are still with the force.

The Notice of Civil Claim, filed in 2012, describes the sexist comments, sexual pranks, derogatory remarks and double standard Janet Merlo endured during her 20 years with the RCMP. "It's too late for me," said Merlo, "But I hope this lawsuit will bring about some positive change for the women who are still with the RCMP and women who join in the future." Ms. Merlo shares her experiences in her recently published memoir No One To Tell: Breaking My Silence on Life in the RCMP. She describes how her love of policing was soured by covert and overt sexism within the ranks and by an institutional culture that valued toughness and silence over ethics and accountability.

The class action lawsuit was filed by the Vancouver office of Klein Lawyers, one of Canada's leading class action law firms. Merlo's lawyer, David Klein, adds, "The RCMP has a serious, systemic problem with the way it treats women in the force. The response to this lawsuit has been overwhelming. We've heard from hundreds of current and former female members of the RCMP from all across Canada. They describe widespread harassment, discrimination and bullying of women in the force. For many, the consequences have been devastating including depression, attempted suicides, broken relationships and shattered careers."

Several women have courageously agreed to speak with the media about their personal experiences of harassment and discrimination within the RCMP. They are in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Halifax, Nanaimo, Vancouver, Victoria, Thunder Bay, Prince George, and Torbay Nfld. For contact details, please contact Whitney Santos at wsantos@callkleinlawyers.com.

The hearing on June 1 will begin at 10:00 am at the Vancouver courthouse, 800 Smithe Street. Ms. Merlo and Mr. Klein will be available to the media at the lunch break, 12:30 pm, at the Nelson Street entrance to the courthouse.

David Klein is a pioneer in Canadian class action litigation. A past president of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, he has represented plaintiffs in landmark class actions in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador. Mr. Klein is included in Best Lawyers in Canada, was selected as Repeatedly Recommended by Lexpert, and is described by Benchmark Canada as a local litigation star.

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