What went down at the Kitchen Bitches Conference

Following the publication of Kate Burnham’s story, alleging horrific workplace sexual harassment at Weslodge restaurant, The Black Hoof’s Jen Agg organized a one-night conference, Kitchen Bitches: Smashing the Patriarchy one Plate at a Time, to discuss the toxic workplace culture in restaurants.

Here’s just some of what people had to say.

Gillian Hnatiw, partner, Lerners LLP
“If you’ve been harassed or assaulted in your workplace, you can go to the police station at any time and make a statement, lay a complaint. If you go the criminal route, I want you to be mindful that the system is all about punishing the offender, rather than compensating or empowering the victim. If the offender is charged, it will not be your case. It will be the crown’s case. The crown prosecutor is not your lawyer and you are not their client. You will not have any control over the process. You’ll have limited access to information. You will be a witness but that’s where it ends. That’s a really surprising thing to a lot of people. It can cause a lot of angst and frustration. The payoff of engaging that system, dealing with the police and dealing with the crown, going to court and potentially having Christie Blatchford write about you, is that person can end up with a criminal record and maybe even spend time in jail. And if those are the things you want, that’s the only way to get them. By contrast, the civil system is essentially about compensating the victim. A lot of people don’t know that you can sue for sexual harassment and sexual assault. And also there can sometimes be this weird thing where people think the victim is taking advantage of the situation or that it’s opportunism if they sue for compensation. Those things make me totally crazy.”

Read Toronto Life article online

Gillian Hnatiw

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