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Corporate Canada Still Remains Silent for #MeToo Movement!

When Maria Soklis spoke up about the “aggressive” sexual harassment, she encountered with a bullet of hatred from her coworkers, happened earlier in her career. But soon, same claims were made when the same person came in the spotlight.

Written by Muneel Ali Published On : August 03, 2018 1467
Corporate Canada Still Remains Silent for #MeToo Movement!

She said the person/employer, not to mention the name, took her in an “exemplary fashion” but she rejected the harasser quickly.

She still faced the hateful attitude her colleagues showed towards her and the opposite towards the harasser.

"This type of behaviour typically doesn't happen on a one off. So, naturally, there was further information about other incidents... which helped make what I did more credible."

Soklis, after struggling too much, is a successful president of Cox Automotive and comes in the top ranks. However, she thinks that such kind of situation in a career frightens people to speak up publicly.

In the recent times, many claims about the inappropriate behavior have been made of the most respectable and prominent people of Canadian industries like politics, media, theatre, sports, and entertainment. But still, corporate Canada has failed to take any step and is remained silent.

This silence will not turn the problem down. in fact, the lawyers say that #MeToo movement is slowly making its way into corporate Canada.


In the recent survey of a public relations firm navigator, it has been revealed that 40 percent of Canadians claimed that they come across sexual harassment at their workplace. In February, the polling by Human Resources Professionals Association Members came to know that around 17 percent respondents witnessed such behavior towards an employee at work.

The experts and lawyers told The Canadian Press that pile of factors makes the sexual misconduct to drop out of Canada’s corporate offices.

One reason is that usually there is no woman at the top position of the corporate ladder which makes them feel they cannot speak up and they have no one as their partner.

Canadian Press analysis released that even Canada’s most influential companies have only 8 percent women as top-earner, as listed on the TSX 60 index. No woman was there as a head of any of Canada’s TSX 60 companies and two-thirds had not a woman who might be taken as a top earner during their latest economic year.

Women who do not talk about this problem is taken as a troublemaker in Canada’s corporate sector, that will eventually lead towards their loss of potential and their career shuts down.

Still No Justice!

The experts said that such allegations usually settle down in houses in order to avoid future problems and sometimes strict non-disclosure agreements are opted.

And women who show themselves fearless and take their case towards the legal route find justice as a slow-moving object.

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Diane Vivares' boss abused her by asking to get in the private during a holiday party, and when she said "no" he "proceeded to shove his hand down the inside of her skirt," according to court documents.

It happened in 20007. The bank fired her in 2015 and in 2016 filed a $1-million sexual harassment and sexual assault lawsuit that still looks beyond the courts.

CIBC and the plaintiff Kevin Carter stepped opposite of Diane and denied her every claim. She chose to stay silent through her lawyer as her case is still present in the Ontario Superior Court.

A CIBC spokesperson told the bank cannot say a word about the details of the case as it is still under the legal protections, but "no form of harassment, discrimination, bullying or any other kind of violence in the workplace will be tolerated."

This is now turning into a huge ball as every workplace is facing such misconduct and behavior.

At the Back Side!

It is almost a year since Me Too movement started and a mass of anger and rage against sexual assault put forward by many women who insisted for a change. This happened after the sexual allegations were made against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

Many lawyers and investigators supported this movement as corporate Canada shows no interest, but the movement keeps on rising in the background.

Such allegations in the workplace are increasing day by day by the women and the companies are setting practical steps to make things under control.

One-in-five Human Resources Professionals Association members in response to a polling in February told the number of complains have increased about the harassment.


Employment lawyer Jennifer Mathers McHenry claimed of seeing much such behavior in six months than in her whole career life. But such lawsuits usually set down via a confidential agreement said McHenry, who is with the Toronto firm Teplitsky Colson.

"It keeps this in dark corners, and a light should be shone."

"But at the same time, it is not only the accused and the institutions that benefit from the confidentiality agreement, to some degree it can be the claimants themselves."

If these issues are taken with silence, it would decrease the potential stigma while looking for a new employment, but if it is put in privacy, it would settle down quickly without long court process, lawyers say.

Employment lawyer and workplace investigator Gillian Shearer told that with the help of hotlines or human resource departments and other protocols, many corporations help to maintain the privacy of the allegation.

She continued that average banker, lawyer or financial professional does not really go out publicly with the allegations. Even in Shearer's firm, such cases have been increased which made workplace investigations more crucial, requiring confidentiality.

"Regardless of how much awareness there will be out there if you're a senior female leader at an investment organization and you want to raise a complaint, there's still a concern about stigma and what it would do to your career."

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