Communiqué to current and past USGE members re: the Merlo/Davidson RCMP sexual harassment suit settlement

December 5, 2016

As many of you may have seen in the news, the RCMP recently announced that it had settled two class-action sexual assault, harassment and bullying lawsuits with current and former employees.

The news related to the settlement and the Commissioner’s recent public apology may lead some of you to explore the possibility of participating in the class action settlement. We have created this to help clarify some questions that you may have about your eligibility and how you should proceed.

1. Is the settlement completed, and can I apply to participate right now?

No. The settlement has been announced, but it will not be completed until it is approved by the Federal Court. No date has been set for the approval hearing, however there is some indication that the claims process will begin in early 2017. Once the settlement has been approved by the court, people wishing to participate in the settlement will have a 180-day window to apply.

We will endeavor to communicate with USGE RCMP members when the settlement has been approved.

2. I am currently working as a Public Service employee of the RCMP, am I eligible to participate in the settlement?

You may be eligible to participate in the settlement.

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is still not absolutely clear. Court documents for the class action settlement indicate that female Public Service Employees of the RCMP are on the list of primary class members. However, according to section 236 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, Public Servants who are protected by a collective agreement grievance process are ineligible to participate in any other type of legal action related to the conditions of employment. (please read question 3 for more information)

The law firm that is representing the class action, has created a web based form for current and former female RCMP employees who want to know if they can qualify to participate in the pending class action settlement.

Follow this link to fill in the form: http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/class-actions/curr...

3. I am currently working as a Public Service employee of the RCMP, should I apply to participate in the settlement or should I file a grievance?

Our interpretation is that, despite the Public Service Labour Relations Act, if you are a female and are currently employed as a Public Service employee with the RCMP you may be eligible to participate in the settlement due to the inclusion of Public Service Employee on the list of primary class members in court documentation.

Therefore, if you would like to participate in the settlement we recommend that you do the following:

a. File a grievance. Even if you begin the process of participating in the settlement, you should file a grievance through the USGE grievance process that is available to you.

b. Apply to participate in the class action settlement. Given that you could be eligible to be part of the settlement, you should begin by filling in the form at this link http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/class-actions/curr... to see if you do indeed qualify for the settlement. If you do qualify,we suggest that you start filling in a claim form even though the settlement is pending approval by the Federal Court. It will be important to start now since the claim forms ask many detailed questions and will require time to complete. If you need help filling in the claim form you should seek help from a legal professional. All of the documents related to the pending settlement are available on the website of Klein Lawyers, the law firm that is representing the class action.

You should feel empowered to pursue both a grievance and the class action settlement in order to ensure that you exercise all options available. However, you will not be able to continue with your grievance if you accept a settlement through the class action, and you will not be able to continue in the class action suit if you accept a grievance award). You will eventually have to decide between pursuing your grievance or following through with the class action settlement.

4. I am a retired RCMP Public Service employee of the RCMP, am I eligible to participate in the settlement?

Yes. Court documents for the class action settlement indicate that former Public Service employees of the RCMP are on the list of primary class members. The settlement covers gender or sexual orientation based harassment that occurred between September 16, 1974 to the date the proposed settlement receives court approval.

If you are interested in becoming a participant in the pending class action settlement we recommend that you begin by filling in the form at this link http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/class-actions/curr... to see if you do indeed qualify for the settlement and then, if so,start filling in a claim form even though the settlement is pending approval by the Federal Court. It will be important to start to fill in the claim form now since it asks many detailed questions and will require time to complete. We suggest that if you need help filling in the claim form that you seek help from a legal professional. All of the documents related to the pending settlement are available on the website of Klein Lawyers, the law firm that is representing the class action.

5. I am currently employed in another job, but I used to work as a Public Service employee for the RCMP, am I eligible to participate in the settlement?

Yes. See the answer to question #4 above.

6. Where can I find more information?

A Merlo/Davidson Settlement website has been created that includes detailed information about the class action and the settlement process. You can find it here: https://merlodavidson.ca

You will also find more information from documents available on Klein Lawyers’ website: http://www.callkleinlawyers.com/class-actions/curr...

If you would like to contact somebody at the USGE about the case, please get in touch with our Senior Policy Analyst, Richard Girard: GirardR@psac-afpc.com