FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 16/09/2021
HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA – Valent Legal recently filed two civil lawsuits with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia against a Wendy’s restaurant (the Defendant) located in Sydney, Nova Scotia. The lawsuit alleges that Wendy’s was negligent in failing to protect female employees from repeated sexual assaults by a supervisor. The Plaintiffs, both minors at the time the assaults occurred, claim that the Defendant took no steps to investigate or address the reported sexual misconduct of their supervisor, identified in the lawsuits as David MacDonald.
The Plaintiffs allege that they (as well as other female employees) made Wendy’s aware of the sexual assaults. In 2019, one of the young female employees filed a police report accusing MacDonald of criminal sexual assault at the workplace. Wendy’s was made aware of the allegations and subsequent investigation. During this time, Wendy’s continued to employ and regularly schedule MacDonald to work with the Plaintiffs and the other female employees. One Plaintiff alleges that MacDonald continued to sexually assault her until his arrest in August of 2020. He has since plead guilty to five counts of sexual assault in relation to sexual assaults that happened at Wendy’s.
One Plaintiff alleges that, following the police investigation, Wendy’s significantly reduced her working hours, eventually removing her from the shift schedule entirely. During her few shifts, she alleges that she was subjected to hostile behaviour, excessive scrutiny, and social exclusion. No formal letter of termination has been issued to date.
“This case highlights the importance of taking allegations of workplace sexual assault seriously. Employers like Wendy’s have a responsibility to protect vulnerable employees from sexual harassment and assault from supervisors,” says Basia Sowinski, a litigation lawyer with Halifax firm Valent Legal. “It is important that employers take active steps to protect their employees and ensure that proper avenues for recourse exist.”
About Valent Legal: Valent Legal is a Halifax personal injury and insurance law firm servicing clients throughout Atlantic Canada. Areas of practice include sexual assault and abuse, motor vehicle accidents, long-term disability, class actions, and medical malpractice. For a complete list of services, please visit www.valentlegal.ca.