The Safeway in Burnaby where a sexual joke was told to customer Brianne Duke. (Google Maps)

Human rights complaint over ‘sexual dad joke’ at B.C. Safeway dismissed

Brianne Duke alleged Sobeys hadn’t dealt with her complaint properly

An escalating human rights complaint against a Burnaby Safeway involving a “sexual dad joke” has been dismissed.

In a decision released last week, tribunal member Catherine McCreary dismissed a complaint against the Safeway that involved an incident in October 2017.

Brianne Duke told the tribunal she had been shopping whens she was approached by an employee who claimed he had “inappropriate dad jokes” to tell her.

One of the jokes, Duke said, was: “What does a late prostitute say? I’m cumin!”

Duke alleged the employee told her other sexual jokes, but did not provide the tribunal with details.

A representative of Duke sent Safeway’s parent company, Sobeys, a letter about the “inappropriate and unprofessional” incident and asked for a $250 gift card and a public apology on all Safeway Canada social media accounts.

According to the decision, Sobeys spoke with two employees, one of whom acknowledged he had been involved.

He said he had been cleaning the spice aisle while asking customers if they wanted to hear an inappropriate joke and told the sex worker joke to those who agreed.

The employee acknowledged the joke was inappropriate, but said it was the only sexual joke he told Duke.

Sobeys disciplined the employee and sent Duke a $250 gift card, as well as an apology.

A few days later, Duke emailed Sobeys asking how the employee had been disciplined and if he was still working with the company, saying it would help her decide if she would keep shopping at the store or go elsewhere.

She was not told how or if the staffer had been disciplined, and “assumed that no discipline had occurred.”

She filed her complaint the same day.

READ MORE: Human rights complaint lodged by transgender woman against Surrey spa revisited

READ MORE: Human rights tribunal complaint by mom example of B.C. daycare “chaos,” advocate says

McCreary said there was nothing to suggest discipline hadn’t been sufficient or hadn’t taken place.

She said Sobeys had properly addressed the issue, and allowing Duke’s complaint to proceed would not advance the purposes of the human rights code.

“I am struck by the priority that Sobeys gave to the complaint. It immediately investigated and found the facts alleged by Ms. Duke to have occurred,” she wrote.

“While it claims for the purposes of this matter that the events do not amount to discrimination under the Code, Sobey’s [sic] nonetheless gave Ms. Duke what she asked for; a gift card and an apology.”

In a statement emailed to Black Press Media on Tuesday, Duke said she is pleased the tribunal at least recognized the employee’s conduct as sexual harassment, and that Sobeys and the employee have sent her additional apologies.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

The shootout at the Bechtel Ferry: 1945

On August 24, 1945, Charles Bechtel, age 66, was killed by the BC Provincial Police just south of the ranch.

A Bright Idea: Studio Arts students’ exhibition

Mount Baker Secondary School Visual Arts students’ hosted their end of semester art show Jan. 17

Hospice seeks clients for Live & Learn Program

After a successful two-year trial period, the Cranbrook and Kimberley Hospice Society is renewing its Live and Learn day program, and is putting out the word to prospective clients.

Cranbrook, Kimberley mayors discuss local issues at business event

Mayor Lee Pratt and Mayor Don McCormick sound off on economic development, housing, and wildfires

Shades of Green Ladies Bonspiel to make you believe

The annual event is looking for teams to compete in the “it’s only make believe,” themed bonspiel.

VIDEO: Students in MAGA hats mock Native American at Indigenous Peoples March

Diocese in Kentucky says it is investigating the matter, caught on video by onlookers

Five steps for examining our lives

Rev. Yme Woensdregt The last few weeks, I’ve written some columns about… Continue reading

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read