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

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Annual Columbia Basin Culture tour coming up Aug 10 and 11

There are locations across the region participating

Abra Brynne wins Kootenay-Columbia Green Party nomination

Brynne is one of three candidates who will challenge MP Wayne Stetski

Police call Appledale death a homicide

But few other details being released

Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman sentenced to life in prison

Experts say he will likely wind up at the federal government’s Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado

Injured humpback returns to waters near Comox a year later

Photographer spotted Ocular near Comox again and noticed the whale has been healing

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Highway 1 closed to due fatal accident east of Revelstoke

A dump truck lost control and the driver was ejected

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Thunderstorms forecast across B.C.

Environment Canada has issued a thunderstorm watch for B.C.’s central Interior

B.C. mom to go to Europe court in hopes of getting alleged abducted daughter back

Tasha Brown alleges her estranged wife abducted their daughter Kaydance Etchells in 2016

Most Read