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B.C. tribunal rejects alleged strata gardener bullying dispute

After allegations of a strata owner harassing and bullying a gardener, the strata corporation instituted a new rule that any concerns of owners should be addressed to the strata corporation and not to workers.
Grass lawn mowing
B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal dismissed a case on allegations of strata bullying involving lawn mowing preferences.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has rejected a complaint from a woman who claimed her strata ‘unlawfully’ accused her of harassing and bullying the strata’s gardener.

Tribunal vice-chair Kate Campbell said the gardener, known as MM in the April 8 decision, wrote to the strata council complaining that, in May 2021, Barbara Davidson “aggressively” yelled at her about lawn mowing preferences, questioned her about her work, and approached the mower while MM was working.

“MM wrote that she felt Mrs. Davidson’s behaviour was intimidating and upsetting, so she left the area to work elsewhere in the strata,” Campbell said.

The gardener claimed there was a second interaction, according to the ruling, where Davidson apologized, saying MM had interpreted her directness as aggression, and ‘demanded’ to know what she had done wrong.

The strata was created in 1985, and consists of 11 residential strata lots, plus common property. Davidson has co-owned her strata lot since 2008.

Davidson admitted she talked with MM but disputed the gardener's account of their interaction, according to the tribunal vice-chair.

“Specifically, Mrs. Davidson says she did not bully or harass MM,” Campbell said.

After receiving MM’s letter, the strata investigated and concluded Davidson had bullied and harassed MM.

“The strata’s investigation documents show that MM, Mrs. Davidson, and the witnesses described the event in similar ways, but that Mrs. Davidson perceived her conduct as 'direct' rather than aggressive,” Campbell said.

The strata informed Davidson about the investigation but imposed no fine or penalty, according to the vice-chair.

Davidson, meanwhile, said the strata emailed all owners to advise them she had been “found guilty of harassing and bullying the gardener.”

“There is no such document in evidence, and Mrs. Davidson did not provide particulars such as a date,” said Campbell.

Instead of imposing a sanction on Davidson, the strata created a new rule saying that owners must not interfere with workers performing strata duties and instead communicate through the strata.

Campbell said the only remedy Davidson had requested was an order that the strata stop accusing her of bullying and harassment.

The tribunal dismissed that claim. 

“The strata is not currently accusing her of any bullying or harassment,” said Campbell.

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