York Condominium Corporation No. 163 v Robinson
Unit owners are encouraged to express concerns with regards to the governance of the condominium corporation, maintenance of the building, staff, and management. However, such concerns must be addressed in a respectful manner. York Condominium is a case where a particular unit owner went far beyond what was acceptable in addressing her concerns.
A unit owner sent regular emails to the staff of the condominium corporation expressing valid concerns with regards to the governance of the corporation and the maintenance of the building. Her emails often targeted staff and encompassed very degrading, offensive and insulting language, which included: insults, body shaming, name calling, and other types of coarse language and rudeness. She also had the habit of communicating her concerns by complaining about one staff member to another, and calling them names. In one incident, for example, the unit owner approached a building superintendent about a problem with the elevator and expressed that the office manager “should do more than sit down at her desk eating all day as the fat woman she is”.
The court found the unit owner’s conduct not only violated the Condominium Act and the Rules of the Condominium Corporation, but also fell within the ambit of workplace harassment under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Furthermore, the court held that York Condominium had a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure that owners, occupiers, lessees of the common elements, agents and employees comply with the Condominium Act, declaration, bylaws and rules of the corporation.
Unit owners must address issues without the use of degrading labels or verbal abuse on the employees of the condominium. A unit owner’s actions could violate the Condominium Act and may fall within the ambit of workplace harassment.
It is the duty of the condominium corporation to investigate and protect its workers from workplace harassment, and to remedy the situation by implementing and enforcing appropriate anti-harassment policies. Property Managers may do so by interviewing the person who made the harassment complaint and the person whom the complaint was made against in order to document the allegations. Records should be kept as evidence and each party should be provided with a copy of such. The corporation may go so far as to pursue legal remedies if appropriate, but must not seek to silence the owner or create a situation in which the owner is unable to communicate in a civil manner.
Written by Adrian Mikolajewski, edited by Robert Mullin and Erica Gerstheimer.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.