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Jewish worker alleges she faced ‘Heil Hitler’ chants at Kamloops McDonald’s

WorkSafeBC dismissed employee’s complaint about being fired for reporting working conditions.
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The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal will hear a complaint from a women who claims she was sexually harassed and subjected to anti-Semitic slurs while working at a Kamloops fast-food restaurant.

B.C.’s Human Rights Tribunal will hear a complaint from a Jewish woman who says she was subjected to Nazi slurs, groped by another worker and called a “geriatric bitch” while working at a Kamloops McDonald’s.

WorkSafeBC had already dismissed a firing complaint from the woman, a decision which noted some of the Nazi issues.

Jennifer Warner made multiple allegations against company, including:

• two male co‐workers subjected her to Nazi salutes and foot marching, while chanting “Heil Hitler”;

• being given  “unsolicited history lessons” sympathetic to the Second World War Nazis;

• a female worker telling her that a few cheese slices resembled the “Star of David”;

• sexual harassment in 2016 until termination in 2018;

• ongoing unwanted sexualized acts, comments and groping by a male workers;

· Ancestry, religion and age slurs with some assaults, and;

• being called  a “prude, suck and geriatric bitch.”

 “Ms. Warner alleges that her various complaints to management went unanswered or were not properly addressed, and that, ultimately, she was targeted for dismissal after complaining,” tribunal member Steven Adamson said August 4 in moving the complaint to a hearing.

The restaurant, operated by Dawnal Quick Serve Ltd., argued the complaint should be dismissed due to a lack of details and ambiguity.

In a statement, McDonald's Canada franchisee Alan Gozda said, "Respecting the safety and well-being of my employees are at the heart of all I do, and I take all alleged situations very seriously. My restaurant group, Dawnal Quick Serve Ltd, is aware of the complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal. We do not tolerate the type of behaviour alleged in the complaint."

Warner’s complaint to the tribunal was her second to a government agency with the allegations. First, she made a complaint about being wrongly fired.

In March 2019, Warner began a prohibited action claim with WorkSafeBC. That was denied her claim in February 2020 and the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Tribunal upheld that decision on April 9, 2021.

The appeal tribunal found the company’s firing of Warner was not retaliation for her complaints about the Nazi slurs and sexual comments.

That decision said ‘the worker described incidents occurring in 2016 when she was called “a Nazi” and greeted at the work site with a Hitler’s salute. The worker reported to the board that her earlier e-mails to the head office included her supervisor stating that she was “a Nazi about cleaning.”

The company, however, said she had been terminated for contacting the company head office with complaints about administration and food safety.

A company human resources officer reported the employee was terminated without cause, that she had bypassed local managers and taken complaints to the head office. The company told WorkSafeBC the harassment complaints were investigated.

“The employer argued that many of the health and safety concerns the worker had recently raised were similarly unfounded and were the direct result of the worker’s own poor performance, appeal tribunal member Shelina Shivj said in an April 9, 2021 decision.

A WorkSafeBC investigation found there had been an ongoing breakdown in the employee-employer relationship.

“I conclude that the worker’s dismissal was more likely the result of mounting frustration on the employer’s part with the worker’s reactions to what was happening in the workplace and her ongoing reports undermining the performance of the employer to the head office,” Shivj said.

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