The City of Leduc and Plaintiffs Mindy Smith and Christa Steele, through their counsel, have reached an amicable resolution, after mediation, to the class action lawsuit brought against the City of Leduc for systemic discrimination, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault against female City of Leduc employees, including female firefighters.
The parties have submitted a proposed settlement agreement to the Court of King’s Bench. This settlement represents action towards addressing the harm caused and ensuring accountability for the actions that took place. Both parties recognize the importance of acknowledging the harm caused to these women and providing a path towards healing and closure.
The settlement includes individual compensation, ranging from $10,000 to $285,000, for women who suffered discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual assault while employed at the City of Leduc. The settlement also confirms several initiatives designed to make Leduc a safer workplace for women that is free of discrimination and sexual misconduct. These include a restorative engagement process designed to allow survivors to communicate their experiences to the City. The City will continue with previously engaged Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion professionals to develop programs and policies to advance the goal of a safe and diverse workplace.
The process for women to make claims under the settlement will be confidential. In addition, Leduc has agreed to ensure that there is no retaliation against women who participated in the class action or who make a claim.
The Parties wish to thank the mediator, Kristine Eidsvik KC, who was instrumental in helping the Parties arrive at a fair and reasonable settlement. The efforts to reach this agreement reflect the shared commitment of all parties to finding a just resolution through legal channels.
The lawyer for Ms. Smith and Ms. Steele, Robert Martz of BD&P, said "This historic settlement is due to the bravery and commitment of the women like Ms. Smith and Ms. Steele who came forward and would not be silenced. Ms. Steele and Ms. Smith began this case hoping to send a message that women should not have to suffer discrimination, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault in any workplace. It is our sincere hope that this settlement will drive change and make other institutions take the steps needed to ensure safe and equitable workplaces for women".
Derek Prohar, the City Manager of the City of Leduc said “It is our shared goal to prevent and address sexual misconduct in all its forms. The City of Leduc reaffirms a strong commitment to implementing robust policies and procedures to create safe environments, promote awareness and education, prioritize the well-being and safety of all individuals, and foster a culture of respect, consent, and accountability. Moving forward, the City of Leduc will redouble efforts to ensure continued growth as a workplace that values diversity, promotes equality, and champions inclusion and respect. We are committed to learning from this experience and continually improving our practices to ensure the wellbeing of our employees.”
A hearing for the Court of King's Bench to approve the settlement is scheduled for July 4, 2023, in Edmonton. The full settlement can be viewed at https://leducclassaction.com/
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Note: The City of Leduc will not be conducting interviews. Please refer to the City Manager’s Statement.