SOURCE: Klein Lawyers LLP

November 24, 2015 14:00 ET

Class Action for Female RCMP Members

Court Hearing in the Discrimination and Harassment Lawsuit

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - November 24, 2015) - On Thursday, November 26, 2015, there will be a further hearing in the B.C. Supreme Court for the class action lawsuit filed by former RCMP constable Janet Merlo. 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. By the time of the last court hearing in June 2015, more than 360 current and former RCMP members and employees had registered to report their personal experiences with sexualized harassment and discrimination while at the RCMP and to support the lawsuit. That number has now grown to over 430. About a third of these women are still with the force.

According to Ms. Merlo's lawyer, David Klein, "Things don't seem to be getting any better for women in the RCMP. In the past six months another 70 RCMP women have come forward to report gender harassment and discrimination in the force. The RCMP gives lip service to making change, but we haven't seen that translate into concrete action. We're especially disappointed that the RCMP has rejected our requests to have a mediator appointed to help resolve these hundreds of claims. Many of the women have said that they hope the new Liberal government will take a more enlightened approach to the problem. I hope so too."

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. "I continue to be contacted by current and former RCMP members from across the country," said Merlo. "They describe the same types of harassment, discrimination and bullying I experienced when I was in the force. The system is broken. The RCMP and the new Liberal government need to take aggressive steps to remedy this desperate situation." 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 hearing on November 26 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. Other class members will also be available for interviews.

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, is described by Benchmark Canada as a local litigation star, and was selected by ACQ Global Awards as Canada's Gamechanger of the Year in Class Action Litigation.

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