On Oct 22, 2018, former governor general Julie Payette gave enthusiastic assent to a Labour Code amendment intended to help prevent violence and harassment in the workplace. And now, little more than two years later, Payette has resigned due to 43 allegations of mental and physical abuse levelled against her.
In the wake of an explosive $400K report in which she’s described as a despotic bully, Payette expressed regret that her staffers “experienced things differently” — a familiar refrain similarly deployed against Jody Wilson-Raybould in her allegations of abuse.
According to the report, dozens of Payette’s subordinates left their role or took sick leave to escape a “hostile and poisonous work environment.” Staffers accused her of yelling, screaming, aggressive conduct, demeaning comments and public humiliations.
Victims of Payette’s abuse are considering their legal options and in other cases, recourse to workers’ compensation for psychological injuries. Should they be awarded, monies for damages related to reckless or intentional infliction of emotional distress could be substantial, and moreover, ultimately borne by the taxpayer. Fortunately for the outgoing governor general, her $150k/yr lifelong pension will go unaffected notwithstanding any legal outcome.