Class-action gender discrimination lawsuit against RCMP may move forward

More than 350 current, former female RCMP members say they were bullied, harassed

VANCOUVER (CP) — Lawyers will head to the B-C Supreme Court today to try to convince a judge to certify a class-action lawsuit against the RCMP by more than 350 current and former female members of the force.

The women are alleging gender discrimination, bullying and harassment in a case that's taken about three years to wind its way through the legal system.

Lawyer David Klein says the women were subjected to the mistreatment over a long period of time, and as a consequence formed a bond.

Quebec native Joanne Mayer says when she joined the Mounties 25 years ago she was greeted at her first posting in Gibsons, B-C, by a sergeant who told her ``We don't think women should be in the force, and especially not French-speaking ones.''

Mayer says that along with her regular duties, she spent over two years doing ``sexist'' chores such as making coffee and cleaning police cruisers.

A spokesman for the federal Public Safety Department wouldn't comment directly on the case, but said all R-C-M-P members should feel safe and respected amongst their colleagues.

The hearing is expected to last five days.

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