North Okanagan cashier wins $99K in sexual harassment case | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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North Okanagan cashier wins $99K in sexual harassment case

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A North Okanagan woman has been awarded almost $100,000 in damages after her former employer sexually harassed her and then retaliated when she complained to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

According to a Nov. 24 B.C. Human Rights Tribunal decision, the complainant, referred to as Ms. K, was offered $2,000 by her boss if she would have sex with him. She refused and was later fired.

The events date back to 2017 when Ms. K worked for Wooyoung Joung, who goes by the name Kai or Aiden and owned the Deep Creek General Store in Armstrong.

Joung, who is originally from Korea, tried to brush off the allegations saying he had "very limited" English and the events had been a misunderstanding due to cultural differences.

However, B.C. Civil Tribunal member Amber Prince dismissed Joung's defence and was outspoken in her criticism of his actions.

"(Joung) sexually harassed her, and then retaliated against her, when she brought her human rights complaint," the Tribunal ruled. "Her case is an example of the longstanding problem of sexual harassment in Canada... which often undermines gender equality and is an attack on the dignity of those who are forced to endure it."

According to the decision, Ms. K worked at the store in 2017 when she was 21-years-old.

Joung and his wife no longer own the Deep Creek General Store.

The decision says Joung offered Ms. K $100 to go for lunch with him. Ms. K refused the money, but eventually agreed to have lunch with her boss.

On the drive back from lunch Joung then offered her $2,000 if she'd have sex with him and said it could be their "little secret" because he was married.

The decision says Ms. K was shocked by the proposition and did not respond.

Later at work, Joung categorized the interaction as a "misunderstanding."

The complainant testified she felt "shocked, insulted, disgusted, and sick to her stomach" following the proposition.

In the weeks that followed the working relationship started to breakdown and Ms. K had her hours cut

Joung then falsely accused her of having another job that was interfering with her shifts and falsely accused her of stealing.

A witness testified that Joung and had a "jealous and obsessive concern" about Ms. K’s interactions with other men.

A little over a month after the proposition, Joung fired the 21-year-old.

READ MORE: North Okanagan cashier says boss offered $2K for sex

"I find that Mr. Joung was angry and uncomfortable that Ms. K did not respond positively to his sexual proposition," the Tribunal ruled.

Shortly afterwards Ms. K filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

A couple of months later, Ms. K found evidence that someone was trespassing late at night at the remote family farm where she lived.

CCTV cameras were installed and caught Joung on film.

The decision says the RCMP became involved and warned Joung he'd be in "big trouble" if he did it again.

It doesn't appear Joung was ever charged in relation to the trespassing.

"I find that Ms. K was seriously and negatively impacted when Mr. Joung made sexualized comments to her, propositioned her for sex, made false allegations about her work performance, poisoned her workplace, fired her, and then trespassed at her home in the middle of the night," the Tribunal member ruled. "I find that Mr. Joung’s cumulative conduct caused short-term and long-lasting harm to Ms. K. She increasingly experienced stress, discomfort, anxiety, fear and illness. Her ability to sleep, eat, work, and enjoy her life was impacted. She felt unsafe in her own home."

The decision said Joung had originally responded to the Human Rights complaint, but ultimately did not turn up for the three-day hearing.

Citing the seriousness of the case the Tribunal awarded Ms. K $45,000 for damages as a result of the sexual harassment and retaliation she received. The Tribunal points out this is on the higher end of damages awarded.

Together with lost wages, the total amount awarded was $98,903.

"Mr. Joung’s sexual harassment constituted a profound affront to Ms. K’s dignity as an employee, as a young person starting her career, as a woman, and as a human being," the Tribunal ruled. "Such a profound affront to a person’s dignity, should, in my view, attract a relatively high injury to dignity amount."


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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