Yellowknife council may take closer look into workplace harassment allegations against Doug Gillard

Departure of key figures raises questions about Yellowknife bylaw inquiry

Current Yellowknife city councillors who were on council at the time a complaint was made about workplace bullying and harassment in its municipal enforcement division would not talk about the allegations after a long in camera meeting on Monday.

But next week, they will debate a motion to look into allegations of workplace harassment and how those allegations against the manager of the municipal enforcement division were investigated.

CBC first reported allegations against manager Doug Gillard on Monday, detailing how former bylaw officer Shayne Pierson filed a complaint in 2014 against Gillard alleging workplace bullying and harassment.

The investigation of the complaint was done by a third-party investigator and overseen by then senior administrative officer Dennis Kefalas who, according to internal emails viewed by CBC, socialized with Gillard.

Coun. Adrian Bell, who earlier introduced a whistleblower policy to protect people who complain about wrongdoing at the city, said he is going to introduce a motion to pursue an official inquiry by a third party into allegations of workplace harassment that have been brought to council's attention.

Bell also wants the inquiry to look into the handling of Pierson's complaint.

The city had a workplace harassment policy in place at the time.

It forbade "objectionable conduct, comment or display made on either a one-time or continuous basis, that demeans, belittles, threatens, or causes personal humiliation or embarrassment to an employee."

More allegations surface

Pierson alleged that Gillard slapped officers in the groin, spit on their sunglasses, and made inappropriate sexual comments about female city employees. Though it wasn't part of his complaint, Pierson and other former officers said Gillard also used security cameras in city facilities to eye women he found attractive.

In an emailed account to CBC, Kerry Nicholson, another former bylaw officer who worked in the division from 2006 to 2012, said he too experienced harassment by Gillard. 

He recalls that Gillard invited officers into his office to view the live video of the women.

Nicholson said he still remembers his first meeting with Gillard. Like many new hires at the division, he was young — just 20 years old — and new to the field.

Nicholson said Gillard made fun of how skinny he was and told him he would have to wear a hand-me-down female uniform.

He said in the first few weeks on the job, after learning Nicholson didn't have a girlfriend, Gillard started suggesting he was homosexual.

Nicholson said that was the first of many sexually inappropriate comments Gillard made to him, including comments about female municipal enforcement officers.

The former officer said Gillard also asked him which one of two women working in municipal enforcement at the time he would rather have sex with, suggested one was a lesbian, and talked openly about wanting to have sex with a female city employee.

Nicholson said he was targeted by Gillard after he tried to unionize municipal enforcement officers.

The city has declined requests for interviews about the complaints lodged against Gillard.