The local representing Edmonton paramedics has filed human rights complaints with the Alberta human rights commission over the treatment of five women paramedics.
CUPE 3197 filed the complaints against the City of Edmontons Emergency Response Department in December 2000 after numerous internal complaints had no effect.
We would have preferred to resolve this internally but the individuals who have laid the complaints are facing escalating retaliation,” said local vice-president Tim Martin, himself a paramedic. “To protect them, and get the city to do the right thing, we had no choice but to ask the Commission to immediately launch its investigation.
The complaints reflect years of abuse. Key elements to the complaints are:
- Lack of safe, clean, private and accessible womens washrooms and rest areas.
- Sexually explicit materials frequently found in fire stations, especially in washroom areas. Inappropriate posters of women in common areas and rest areas in fire stations.
- Males walk around fire stations unclothed or insufficiently clothed.
- Harassment of female paramedics both written and verbal
- Retaliation against female paramedics who complain. In some cases, this harassment has resulted in direct and indirect threats.
Martin said male ERD members who support the women also face retaliation.
It is interfering with the ability of both male and female paramedics to do their jobs effectively and efficiently,” Martin said. “These are longstanding issues that we have been unable to resolve in our dealings with the City. We felt we had no choice but to go to the Alberta Human Rights Commission for help.
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