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HRTO Considers Vulnerability of Applicant in Awarding $180,000 in Damages to Victim of Discrimination and Sexual Violence in Employment

By: Anne-Marie Langan*

In a recent Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) decision, L.N. v. Ray Daniel Salon & Spa, 2024 HRTO 179 (CanLII), the adjudicator considered the fact that the Applicant was a vulnerable person, new to Canada with a history of sexual and intimate partner violence that she was fleeing in Iran when awarding her $180,000 in damages for having been discriminated against and sexually assaulted and harassed on many occasions by her employer.

The HRTO considered other factors determining the appropriate quantum of damages including the fact that "the respondent was the applicant’s employer, was in a position to confer or deny a benefit over the applicant, and ought to have known that his behaviour was unwelcome" (par. 45). The adjudicator also considered the egregious nature of the respondent's conduct which included three sexual assaults, one physical assault and numerous inappropriate sexualized comments and jokes and the poisoned work environment the Applicant was subjected to. The fact that the employer paid the applicant less than the others for the same work due to her immigration status was considered to be prima facie discrimination. The Tribunal also considered that the employer had reprised against the applicant by threatening to make false reports about her to the police, by bringing a small claims court claim against the applicant in response to her Application and by attempting to interfere with one of her witnesses.

Congratulations to the Applicant for her courage in coming forward despite these threats and to Richa Sandhill, her Don Valley Community Legal Services lawyer for her skillful advocacy and legal representation.

Anne-Marie Langan B.A., B.S.W., LL.B., LL.M. is the project lead for the sexual violence projects at Peterborough Community Legal Centre, including the SHAPE project which provides legal advice and education for those experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace and the Your Way Forward project which provides support for those who have experienced intimate partner sexual violence. These projects are both sponsored by the Justice Canada. She can be reached directly at

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