Human Rights Tribunal awards former Armstrong store clerk almost $100,000 for boss's sexual harassment

$99K harassment ruling

A former employee of an Armstrong store has been awarded almost $100,000 in a B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision on her sexual harassment.

The Nov. 24 ruling ordered Wooyoung Joung of the Deep Creek General Store to pay the woman $53,903 as compensation for lost wages and $45,000 for injury to her dignity, feelings, and self respect, as well interest until the amounts are paid in full.

The complainant (Ms. K) was 21 at the time she started working at the store in 2017.

In her decision, tribunal member Amber Prince said Ms. K had "proven her complaint that her boss sexually harassed her, and then retaliated against her, when she brought her human rights complaint."

While Joung had legal counsel at the beginning of the complaint, he was self represented during the tribunal hearing and did not take part. As such, Ms. K's testimony was unchallenged.

Prince found Joung misused his power to harass Ms. K., and when she attempted to resist made matters worse by creating a hostile work environment, and then firing her.

While under his employment, Joung would make jokes of a sexualized nature and inappropriate comments about young women in the store.

In August 2017 he asked K to go to lunch with him and offered $100 to do so. K refused the money, but went to the lunch with Joung, who then offered her $2,000 to have sex while they were driving back from the meal.

Joung denied the complaints and said in his response that as a Korean immigrant he had "very limited" communication skills in English and was "sometimes confused" by Canadian cultural norms.

After K filed her complaint, Joung cut her hours and accused her of stealing.

She was fired on Sept. 28, 2017, and the human rights complaint was filed on Nov. 3, 2017.

In early 2018, K and her sister noticed signs of several incidents of trespass on their rural property.

They installed a security camera, and Joung was seen on video, trespassing at her home in the middle of the night. The incidents were reported to police.

Prince said the respondent's conduct contravened the Human Rights Code and the case "is an example of the longstanding problem of sexual harassment in Canada."

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