Global BC anchor Chris Gailus accused of sexual harassment
Mi-Jung Lee and Kendra Mangione, CTV Vancouver
Published Friday, June 10, 2016 4:46PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, June 10, 2016 7:00PM PDT
One of B.C.'s most well-known broadcasters has been accused of sexually harassing his former makeup artist.
Chris Gailus, co-anchor of Global BC's News Hour at 6, has been named in documents filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission alleging harassment.
Documents filed on behalf of Dawne Koke claim that Gailus made inappropriate comments to the makeup artist over a period of seven years.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
In the documents, Koke claims that Gailus grabbed her buttock at a work party and told her, "I always wanted to see what that felt like."
Another time, she claims he told her it was hot in the room and that she should take her clothes off. Koke alleges he would also pretend to get erections while she was applying his makeup.
"She was afraid of what would happen if she came forward," her lawyer Clea Parfitt told CTV News.
But in 2013, Koke sent an email to Gailus asking him to stop the sexual comments. He emailed back, saying he thought they were just joking.
"I had a different understanding of what our friendship could bear. I'm sorry," Gailus said in an email.
Koke said the harassment stopped, but she still decided to raise the issue with management. She claims Global's parent company Shaw Communications failed to properly investigate her complaint. Shaw is also named in the complaints.
"The utter failure of her employer to do the right thing caused her much more harm than the original sexual harassment," her lawyer said.
In a message posted Friday to its Facebook page, Global BC said it is aware of an accusation against a staff member, but that the "allegation was determined to be unfounded."
Global's statement said that the company has a "zero tolerance approach," and that the accusation was investigated immediately.
"This matter is in arbitration and we have confidence in the outcome. We will not be commenting further.
Koke said she wasn't able to go back to work, and was fired last year.
Shaw said it was inconclusive whether Gailus had sexually harassed Koke, but management decided Gailus had behaved inappropriately and was given a warning.
Gailus did not respond to a request for interview from CTV News, and Koke declined to comment.
Koke filed complaints with the Canadian Human Rights Commission about the sexual harassment allegation and how the company handled it.
The Commission would not hear the case, saying it should be dealt with by the company's union first.
Koke's lawyer said the decision sends the wrong message.
"The message this sends is, don't complain. Raise it quietly. Probably don't tell your employer. Don't file with the Human Rights Commission," Parfitt said.
Human rights expert Cissy Pau told CTV that the human rights process can be cumbersome and toothless.
"Women can fall through the cracks," Pau said Friday.
Koke is appealing the commission's decision to Federal Court.
With a report from CTV Vancouver's Mi-Jung Lee
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