June 04, 2013 - 3:01 PM
VANCOUVER - A class action lawsuit brought against the RCMP on behalf of women who allege they were harassed while on the force begins today in Vancouver.
The lawsuit was launched by RCMP veteran Janet Merlo last year and will be heard in B-C Supreme Court.
Merlo alleges she and fellow female members were subject to gender-based discrimination, bullying and harassment, and that the RCMP failed to ensure that they could work in a safe environment.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
The RCMP has also issued denials in several sexual abuse and harassment lawsuits against the force and its officers.
But an internal report, released last year in response to the number of high-profile allegations of sexual harassment, suggests gender-based harassment was common among the female officers who participated in a study where they detail their experiences of being bullied by colleagues and superiors.
In response to the report's recommendations, Deputy Commissioner Craig Callens announced the creation of a 100-member team dedicated to investigating harassment complaints.
The highest-profile sexual abuse and harassment lawsuit involves Cpl. Catherine Galliford, a former spokeswoman for the Air India and Robert Pickton cases.
Galliford filed a lawsuit last year alleging years of abuse by numerous officers.
Const. Karen Katz also has a lawsuit alleging a colleague harassed and sexually assaulted her, as well as a second lawsuit that alleges more widespread abuse spanning her entire career.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013