On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

On Saturday, March 13, a woman, who is not employed by RCR, showed her support for those who have said they do not feel comfortable in their work environment. (Photo submitted)

Employees stage walk-out at Kicking Horse Resort over allegations of workplace harassment

Three employees refused to show up to their shifts today over the allegations

Several female employees are refusing to work at a Kicking Horse Mountain Resort business, over allegations of workplace harassment and an unsafe workplace.

Three employees did not show up to their scheduled shifts on March 15, citing that they do not feel comfortable or safe while working.

The move comes after an internal investigation was launched into one of the managers at the resort. Several employees made allegations that they faced bullying and a toxic environment. The manager was removed for two weeks, before being reinstated to his position last Friday.

Amelia McLean, an employee at the resort who walked out on Monday, stated that at least twice the manager made unsolicited comments to her on her appearance, which she says constitutes sexual harassment, something she has expressed to upper management at the resort.

“Once, I was working, and he saw my pass hanging from my pocket and he took a good look, studied it for a second and said oh, you’re pretty hot. That was pretty early in the season and I remember going home and telling my boyfriend that I thought it was pretty weird, but I guess it’s kind of like a boys club,” said McLean.

“Another time I was just handing him something and he said ‘thanks, beautiful’, before backtracking and saying ‘thanks, employee’. So obviously he realized he had said something kind of strange and was trying to backpedal.”

The employee code of conduct at Kicking Horse defines workplace harassment as a single incident or repeated incidents of objectionable or unwelcome conduct, comment, bullying or action that the person ought to reasonably know will cause offence or humiliation to a worker.

“I’ve witnessed a few of these incidents,” added another female Kicking Horse employee, who wished to remain anonymous.

“One time Amelia was wearing a shirt and made a comment that it was cold, and he looked her up and down and said ‘yeah, maybe if you put more clothes on’.

“It’s just comments like that, that are inappropriate in general, the way he speaks.”

She added that other employees have spoken to the manager concerning language used that has made multiple people uncomfortable throughout the season.

She was not scheduled to work on Monday, or she would have participated in the walk-out.

Both employees added that it’s not just the female staff.

“The boys feel it too, especially when he came back to work, they were all checking in with us to see how we are feeling,” added the unnamed employee.

The employee added that the alleged behaviour was not limited to being directed solely at female staff.

Chelsea Orme-Williams, another employee, spoke about her experience working with a medical condition, stating that she felt humiliated when the manager told her in front of other staff that she had to let people know where she was going and when she was going to the washroom.

“In certain situations, I don’t have time to tell people where I’m going and regardless, that’s my business,” she said.

“He singled me out, opened up by saying ‘I’m not singling you out’ and in that situation, I felt embarrassed and humiliated.”

While she was not a part of the walkout, she said she would have had she been scheduled to work.

All three pointed out that this kind of behaviour is in direct violation of the employee code of conduct, which states that “every RCR [Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which owns Kicking Horse Mountain Resort] employee is responsible and accountable for creating an organizational culture of respect by ensuring one’s behaviour is respectful and appropriate at all times and accepting responsibility for one’s actions.”

Disrespectful behaviour is defined by the code of conduct as comments, actions or gestures that are humiliating, offensive, hurtful or belittling.

All three employees said that they raised their concerns with human resources at the resort during the initial investigation and were shocked when they were abruptly informed that he would be returning to work, following a meeting and a planned apology. The three employees said that they had not heard from HR throughout the process, apart from being informed he would be returning.

In the meeting, at least one other employee walked out.

“We should not have been asked as employees to be in that meeting at 8 a.m. before work, following everyone’s concerns, people’s attitudes, the allegations, I do not consider this a safe work environment,” said Orme-Williams.

“To be forced to stand in a room with a man that has bullied you sexually harassed others, been inappropriate in his behaviour, I find that extremely difficult. I’m not surprised that people have walked out.”

All three have said that they would like to continue to work at the resort.

“The health, safety and well-being of our staff is the number one priority, we treat all incidents with care and the process is ongoing,” read a statement from the resort.

Kicking Horse declined to comment further on the situation, citing that the investigation was ongoing.

None of the allegations have been brought before the RCMP.

READ MORE: Golden’s Daley Bread Bakery opens doors

READ MORE: Kamloops man charged with forcible confinement, assault, firearms offences

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

sexual harassment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

The District of Peachland seen from the skies over Highway 97. (Contributed)
Peachland council supports RDCO emergency operations grant application

The district’s emergency operations are managed regionally

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

A crane stands in the middle of a fire-ravaged Glenmore Road construction site on Thursday, April 8. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)
Evacuation order remains in effect around burned Glenmore Road construction site

Assessment of potentially risky crane to take place this afternoon

Kelowna-based company GTEC Cannabis Co. has paid off $6 million in debts. (GTEC Cannabis Co. - Facebook)
Kelowna cannabis company pays off $6M debt

GTEC Cannabis Co. is now one of the few debt-free companies in the sector

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

The former Summerland Asset Development Initiative building on Prairie Valley Road in Summerland was suggested as the site for a temporary transitional housing facility for the community. However, Summerland council has rejected this proposal. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Summerland council rejects transitional housing facility

Concerns raised about short timeline and condition of municipally-owned building

Penticton Vees continue their winning streak carrying a 5-0 win title as of Sunday night's hockey action. (Cherie Morgan/Cherie Morgan Photography)
Penticton Vees continue winning streak

Sunday night’s 6-1 win has them with five in a row since the start of the season

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read