Heavy Machine Operator Awarded $47,000 in Sexual Harassment Case
Tammy Ratzlaff a female heavy-duty machine operator was awarded $47,000 by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal after she was sexually assaulted by the owner of Abbotsford construction company, Albert Rondeau. The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal is the same as the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Illinois Human Rights Commission. Ratzlaff testified that Rondeau was old enough to be her father and she believed he would be a mentor and teach her the various aspects of the job. Things began to change and within a month of starting her new job Rondeau began to make sexual advances to her and once in the office grabbed her buttocks and tried to hug her while saying sexually offensive remarks.
One of the job requirements was for Ratzlaff to stay overnight in hotels because the jobs required travel. The problem was Rondeau would stay at the same hotel. The sexual harassment was so obvious that other members of the crew knew of her predicament and offered to escort her to and from her room. They also made efforts to ensure she would not be left alone with Rondeau while in the hotel complex. Even with these best efforts however there as an early morning meeting and she ended up alone with Rondeau in his room and he took the opportunity to say he found her attractive and wanted to have sex with her.
The sexual harassment culminated on the evening of Nov. 25 when Ratzlaff was in her motel room and opened the door upon hearing a knock. Rondeau forced his way in, grabbed her throat and kissed her "aggressively, forcing his tongue into her mouth while he grabbed her breasts and tried to get his hands into her vagina. She kneed him in the thigh but he repeated his conduct.
Ratzlaff said the experiences left her "devastated, scared and traumatized."