© Chad Hipolito / The Globe and Mail
A framed photo of recently graduate RCMP Constable Janet Merlo in August, 1991, seen here at her home in Nanaimo,BC, left the force in 2010 after years of dealing with sexual harassment issues that the force ignored.
Canada: Vancouver, British Columiba - A former Mountie has launched a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP, hoping to purge the "toxic" attitude against women within the male-dominated force, her lawyer says.
David Klein says more than 100 current and former female members from across Canada are preparing to stand behind the lawsuit alleging widespread sexual harassment.
The suit was filed Tuesday in B.C. Supreme Court on behalf of Janet Merlo and alleges she was subjected to persistent and ongoing gender-based discrimination by male members.
The 19-year-veteran spent most of her career at the Nanaimo, B.C., detachment on the east coast of Vancouver Island and said the harassment started in 1992, just months into her job.
The lawsuit alleges she endured a series of sexist comments, sexual pranks, derogatory remarks and double standards.
In one instance, the court documents say she told her supervisor she was pregnant and he yelled at her.
"You had better get your priorities straight. You are either going to have a career in the RCMP, or you are going to pop out kids your whole life," the unnamed officer said. "I have a suggestion for you; next time, keep your (expletive) legs closed."