***Update March 8, 2016: Wow! Our campaign is generating national press coverage and creating massive impact. We're headed to Calgary next week to deliver your petitions right to WestJet's headquarters. Add your name now.
Warning: trigger alert — this may be very difficult to read as the content refers to sexual assault.
A WestJet pilot sexually assaulted former flight attendant Mandalena Lewis while she was at work. When she spoke out, management didn't protect her -- they fired her. Now, she is going public with the horrific allegations.
But Mandalena wasn't the only one. Dozens of women have been assaulted, harassed and raped, mostly by pilots -- and their employer, WestJet, has done nothing to help or protect them.
So Mandalena is doing something she never thought she would: she is taking WestJet to court.
Please sign the petition to WestJet's CEO: immediately step down, and ensure charges of rape and sexual assault are thoroughly investigated.
What this situation comes down to is gross corporate negligence. WestJet is literally in the business of safety. It transports millions of people safely across the country and planet each year -- yet it failed to protect some of its most precious cargo.
It was not easy for Mandalena to make the decision to come forward. Just looking at the recent media stories about other women who have made public allegations against well-known celebrities is proof. The system is not designed to protect victims, because those who come forward are often subject to
threats, harassment and victim-blaming.
But together, we have the ability to make sure that is not Mandalena's fate.
WestJet is a public company, and is one of the most well known corporations in Canada. It cares what the public thinks, and will respond to us if we come together now.
Join me in signing a petition to WestJet's CEO to immediately step down -- and take urgent steps to thoroughly investigate charges of rape and sexual assault.
WestJet is consistently ranked as a top Canadian employer, and
earned $4 billion in revenue last year alone. It's also highly vulnerable to public pressure as the company is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Women shouldn't face harassment of any kind at their respective workplaces. Not at this company. Not at any company. And WestJet should know better.
We are calling on the CEO to step down because he is ultimately the person accountable for the egregious mishandling of the situation. This starts at the top. We need to set a precedent that harassment and abuse are never acceptable, and that
there are real consequences for a company that fails to protect its employees.
It took incredible courage for Mandalena to speak out. Let's stand with her and ensure that the silence ends now.
SumOfUs exists to fight to make sure corporations are accountable to people. A mass of public opposition -- and solidarity for Mandalena -- will ensure that WestJet is held to account, and that WestJet never ignores another employee again.
Call on WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky to immediately step down and ensure charges of rape and sexual assault are thoroughly investigated.
P.S. This content may have been very difficult to read. If you are a victim of sexual violence or know someone who is, here is a link to some resources that you can seek for help.
News about the lawsuit
A lawsuit was filed in the B.C. Supreme Court on March 1, 2016. The plaintiff in the suit, Mandalena Lewis, was a flight attendant at WestJet from 2008 to 2016. According to her complaint, she was assaulted in January 2010 by a WestJet pilot. She immediately reported to her First Officer, manager, and local police authorities where the alleged assault took place.
WestJet, according to her claim, failed to investigate or respond to her report following the assault. WestJet allegedly took away the pilot's ability to fly to the location where the assault took place, ostensibly taking away the ability of local authorities to prosecute the assault.
WestJet endeavoured to structure her work schedule so the pilot and plaintiff were not required to work together. She was told to keep quiet about the incident.
In August 2015, she met another WestJet flight attendant that claimed they were assaulted by the same pilot in 2008. WestJet allegedly also urged this woman to remain silent about the incident, and took no disciplinary measures against the pilot.
The significance of this, according to the suit, is that WestJet knew two years before Mandy's alleged assault about another assault -- and the company failed to remove the pilot from the workplace or place conditions on his employment that would protect employees like the plaintiff.
The suit argues that when Mandalena was later terminated, it was in retaliation to her attempts to understand the circumstances that resulted in her assault and to hold WestJet to its own commitments to keep employees safe.
According to WestJet's “Business Code of Conduct" stated to be terms of employment for its employees:
a. WestJet is committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all employees;
b. harassment includes sexual assault, unnecessary or unwelcome physical contact and any other action that may reasonably be perceived as offensive or disrespectful;
c. no-one has the right to harass anyone else at work or in any situation related to employment;
d. WestJet will respond promptly to all complaints to ensure they are resolved quickly and fairly;
e. WestJet will impose sanctions (including termination) on any employee who violates these requirements;
f. anyone who retaliates against a person who has made a complaint will be subject to sanctions.
Mandalena's suit alleges wrongful dismissal and breach of employment contract in that the company failed to provide a safe work environment.