Police Officer Suffers Miscarriage, Files Human Rights Complaint

Written by on March 25, 2011 in Employment Law Blog

Former Constable Christina Farrell has filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, seeking $225,000.00 in compensation on the grounds of sexual harassment, sexual solicitation or advances, family status and reprisal or threat of reprisal. She directly blames her father, Inspector Jim Farrell of the same police force, for contributing to a “poisoned work environment” that caused her to leave her employment, and alleges that it also negatively affected her husband, Constable Nathan Bowman who also works directly under Inspector Farrell.

In 2001, Christina Farrell was 11 ½ weeks pregnant when she was working a night shift and instructed to conduct a search on a female prisoner. This prisoner had a history of violent behaviour, had been in a maximum security prison and was at that time under arrest for impaired driving. Farrell reminded her senior officer that she was pregnant, but she was given a direct order to attend to the prisoner alone. She was struck, and they struggled on the floor. Within a few hours, Farrell suffered severe cramping and bleeding, miscarried her child and required major emergency surgery.

A History of Abuse

This is not the first incident that Farrell has suffered at the hands of her colleagues.  When she was a newly hired cadet, she was repeatedly sexually harassed and sexually assaulted and on one occasion, “felt up” by a senior officer when she was driving him home after a party.

The officer who allegedly harassed her was a friend of Farrell’s father. After the 2001 incident, Farrell’s father advised his daughter that she would be wise not to complain about the beating and miscarriage, as it would no doubt jeopardize her career and make him look bad.

She did not report the incident at the time due to fear of retaliation and the resulting damage to her career. She states, “No female reports sexual harassment in the police without being labeled a rat and being ridiculed for it.”

Despite ongoing harassment from her fellow officers, including her father, Farrell continued working with the police force until June 2008 when she resigned from her employment due workplace stress.  Farrell later filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal, which is to be heard by the Tribunal this spring.

To read the source of this article for this blog, see The Toronto Star (Daughter pitted against father in Barrie police complaint, by Peter Edwards, March 17, 2011).

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