Action group calls for better harassment policies, workplace equality

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Better sexual harassment policies. Changes in workplaces. Equality. These are the things members of feminist organization Smash Patriarchy: An Action Team (SPAAT) will be demanding from government as they hold a rally at St. John’s City Hall Saturday at 2 p.m.

Brenda Seymour (right) speaks with supporters after a recent meeting between the Town of Spaniard's Bay and representatives of the Department of Municipal Affairs. — File photo

The rally is in support of Brenda Seymour, the Spaniard’s Bay firefighter who was on the receiving end of incidents of sexual harassment from some of her male colleagues.

“The sexual harassment that took place in Spaniard’s Bay Fire Department is not an isolated event,” SPAAT said in a media statement. “It is not unique to Spaniard’s Bay, and it is not unique to our fire departments. Sexual harassment remains endemic in our society, our workplaces, our universities and our schools.

“SPAAT is urging policy makers and government to revamp policies around sexual harassment.”

SPAAT is inviting members of the public to join the rally.

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Recent comments

  • SkepticalNewfoundlander
    January 29, 2016 - 09:51

    What do you get when you give equality to a group that already has equality? Inequality. I wish these publications would clearly define what groups like SPAAT want so everyone could see what they're really supporting. Instead of shouting equality over and over, explain how we'll be more equal.

  • delores
    January 28, 2016 - 19:35

    I worked out in long harbour with 30 men in my group I was the only female, there was one guy out of the bunch that didn't want to work with me but all the rest didn't have a problem but that doesn't mean that all the men are predators or believe in harassment. But for the fire depth men of Spaniards bay there could be one or two I don't know but not all men are tarnished with the same brush. So I know these men for years and years , I was born and raised in Spaniards bay and I'm 48 yrs old but if we got to look at every man as a woman hater in the workforce, we start out with every business and go straight across the province.

  • Randy
    January 28, 2016 - 18:18

    There's sexism in Spaniard’s Bay so the protesters are protesting St. John's City Hall? Reminiscent of the geographically challenged NDP who couldn't find their way out of Town during the provincial election

  • Disgusted
    January 28, 2016 - 17:26

    Abilgale your comments are putting women back 100 years in their rights. Let the story run. Excellent journalism.

  • Alice
    January 28, 2016 - 16:29

    joe is not only off topic, he's off base. If women account for only 4 percent of all firefighters, you wouldn't expect them to account for half of the fatalities. Or maybe you would.

  • abigale
    January 28, 2016 - 15:42

    why don't you put this story on the back burner [and keep it there] we're sick to death reading about it!!!

    • LISA
      January 28, 2016 - 16:06

      Abigale... This story has gone international. It seems you want to bury it and allow the cover up by the resigned firemen and Spaniard's Bay town council. This is women's rights at stake and it will not go on the back burner as you wish. Sorry but this story is a lot bigger than your narrow view.

  • Joe
    January 28, 2016 - 15:27

    Equality, ha! When are they planning on fixing the inequality that 95% of workplace deaths are men? They're not interested in real equality.

    • LISA
      January 28, 2016 - 15:52

      Joe: you are off topic here. The most dangerous jobs involving deaths such as the crab fishermen off waters in Alaska and Iron/Construction employees working on 200-300 meter high buildings has nothing to do with the topic in hand

    • don't forget
      January 28, 2016 - 16:36

      Really Joe? There are more men in male oriented jobs, every misogynist person is aware that you need big muscles to operate equipmen, like driving a truck for example, that's all. Get serious. As we found out during that horrific incident involving a helicopter & our offshore workers a few years back, women, die equally with men while doing dangerous work.

  • LISA
    January 28, 2016 - 15:03

    Ms Seymour was elected twice to council, the last being a bye election in 2015. She narrowly lost the mayoral race in the last full election to a Wayne Smith who was a town manager for over 25 years. Mr Smith resigned last year due to medical reasons creating a disturbing chain of events where Deputy Mayor Paul Brazil refused to accept the position of Mayor. Rather then have a Mayor bye election the 6 Town Councillors had an internal vote and elected Tony Menchions as mayor. This was not democracy by the people of Spaniard's Bay and shows the flaws in the Municipality Act that allow this kind of vote to happen. Anyway a bye election to replace the Councillor position held by Mr. Menchions was held, that was easily won by Ms Seymour. Despite all the hatred and demonizing of her by the resigned fire fighters/their families, I can assure you she is well respected by 90% of voters in the town. Spaniard's Bay has a lot of very well educated people who disagree with sexual harassment. workplace inequality and gender bias and who are totally against the the leaders of the Fire Dept such as Chief Hiscock and Captain Snow in leading most of the firemen to mass resignations, leaving a town at risk of serious danger and harm. The fact Ms Seymour is the victim of sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, gender bias and work place inequality trumps everything. We need more ambitious outspoken women like her on council and in all fire depts across Canada.

  • JB
    January 28, 2016 - 13:56

    First thing they should demand is the removal/firing of the employee in government who breached the privacy of 289 people at MRD and harassed employees in west block of confederation building. Otherwise he gets to collect a paycheck and a pension as reward for sexual harassment

    • leading the way
      January 28, 2016 - 16:50

      Right you are JB. A female nurse that did exactly the same thing as this man did, she loses her job, was charged & paraded in front of the media & was vilified. Our own government seems to have one set of rules for women & another set for men. There's nothing like a government that leads by example eh?