Claims of harassment against federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have been found without merit, and the Party has closed its investigation.
In a media release today (May 10) the Party stated that allegations made in January of last year of workplace harassment against May were investigated by Torys LLP in Toronto, led by Sheila Block. That investigation, they state, “concluded that the allegations do not constitute workplace harassment. The investigation is now closed.”
Three former employees of the Party — Rob Rainer, Diana Nunes and Vanessa Brustolin — made allegations of bullying and harassment to the Toronto Star and The Hill Times. Once made public, the Party — with cooperation from May — initiated the investigation.
According to the summary report by Torys LLP, two of the three complainants (Brustolin declined) and May to get each side of the story.
“For the purposes of our analysis, we accepted the complainants’ allegations as true,” reads the summary. “We also accept that the three complainants feel strongly that they were mistreated. However, in our opinion, their allegations, if accepted as true, do not rise to the level of workplace harassment under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”
The investigation found Rainer’s allegations a reflection of a tense workplace environment, caused by coworkers who did not like each other and the fact he took job performance questions personally.
“Because he saw no fault in his performance, he concluded that he was subject to an unjustified personal attack. People can and do have different expectations and views with respect to a person’s job performance, but criticisms directed at a person’s job performance do not meet the legal standard that is the focus of our investigation.”
The investigation found that Rainer’s complaints did not “constitute ‘a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.’”
Nunes, states the report, indicated she did not have specific allegations of harassment against May, but concerns around her treatment of others.
“In our opinion, even if we accept them as accurate, none of them constitute workplace harassment.”
Brustolin declined to meet with investigators, but based on her emails and recollection of interactions with May, her allegations did not constitute “a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.”
The team has recommended the Green Party of Canada keep the rest of the report confidential, based on solicitor-client privilege and personal information issues.