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

Prominent Island chief wants quick action on missing and murdered women report

Cowichan’s Chip Seymour: “If they do something then maybe we’ll say it was a success”

Saanich school grapples with death of 13-year-old

Teenager died after being struck and pinned by tree while on a field trip near Sooke

UPDATE: Victoria teen killed on field trip near Sooke

Second youth also injured in incident at Camp Barnard

COLUMN: Revisiting a decade ago as Victoria celebrates 20 years of Ska

4 million tourists visit Greater Victoria each year and there’s a reason we remain despite them

Man accused of Brentwood Bay murder appears in court

Alan Chapman tells judge he wants next court appearance to be “as far away as possible”

VIDEO: Rare white killer whale captured by drone near Campbell River

The transient orca has been named Tl’uk, a Coast Salish word that means ‘moon.’

RCMP deploys special unit in Comox Valley to combat organized crime

Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit spends four days targeting organized crime in Courtenay

Late-night summer sailings to Horseshoe Bay won’t connect with buses

B.C. Ferries advises passengers on 10:40 p.m. sailings to look at other transportation options

Air Canada expects Boeing 737 Max to resume flying by September or October

Air Canada isn’t worried about safety of the planes, says vice-president

Chinook fishery not ‘closed’ in area is message from guides

Conservative MP holds town halls on Vancouver Island to hear stakeholders’ concerns

Firefighters bring Sooke wildfire under control

South Island firefighters busy with minor incidents caused by careless smokers

$4.7 million renovation planned for Courtenay social housing

Province doles out improvement grant for affordable rental accommodation complex

B.C. imposes interim moratorium on resource development to protect caribou

The caribou population in northeastern B.C. has dwindled over the last two decades

Students disciplined after anti-LGBTQ signs posted in Kamloops high school

Vessy Mochikas, SD73’s principal for inclusive education, called incident a learning opportunity

Most Read