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.

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

Just Posted

WildSafe program wraps up quiet season for District of Kent, Harrison

Black bears biggest source of calls in the FVRD

Week of snow storms finally fades

Six snowstorms in seven days pours on more than 40 cm

VIDEO: Time’s running out for Montreal Alumni tickets in Hope

Habs will face off against Hope hockey players on Saturday afternoon

Westbound Highway 1 roll-over crash slowing commuters in Abbotsford

Accident occurred just west of Mt. Lehman Road, left lane blocked

5 to 10 cm of snow still coming to Fraser Valley: Environment Canada

Hard to say when the freezing rain will turn to regular rainfall, Environment Canada says

Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

A letter with four demands was delivered to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

VIDEO: Langley woman without a home after houseboat sinks during snowy weather

A Go Fund Me page has been set up to help the Grant’s Landing resident replace her possessions

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

‘Epic sky palace’: B.C. businesses help create dream treehouse for boy recovering from cancer

‘It was kind of a bright shining beacon at the end of a horrible, dark tunnel’

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

B.C. teacher suspended for poking student in stomach, pulling another’s ponytail

Teacher also swore in classroom, used Facebook to contact students

Larry Walker Jr. and Sr. keeping expectations low for hall-of-fame induction

Walker needs 75 percent of votes in order to be inducted into Cooperstown

Most Read