Gay former jail guard awarded $98K for harassment at Ottawa detention centre

TORONTO – A former Ottawa jail guard who endured homophobic harassment at the “poisoned workplace” has been granted what a grievance board calls its largest-ever award for a human rights breach.

Robert Ranger worked at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre from 1998 to 2002, when he left because he said he couldn’t take the taunts and gay slurs, eventually going on long-term disability.

The Grievance Settlement Board has ordered the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to pay Ranger $98,000 in compensation.

That amount includes $45,000, which the board says in its decision is the largest amount it has ever awarded for breaching the Human Rights Code and the collective agreement.

The board found that Ranger’s main tormentor and his “entourage” taunted and humiliated Ranger and the employer did “almost nothing to address the homophobic atmosphere in the jail.”

Ranger is also suing the ministry, and a spokesman says it would be inappropriate for them to comment on the grievance board decision while the matter is still before the courts.

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