Former B.C. flight attendant protests sexual harassment outside YVR, asked to leave

Mandalena Lewis said she was handing out pamphlets outside YVR terminal when asked to leave

A B.C. woman and former flight attendant at WestJet was told to leave Vancouver International Airport for infringing on airport policy, after handing out anti-sexual harassment pamphlets to travellers earlier this month.

Mandalena Lewis is leading a class action lawsuit against the airline alleging it failed to protect flight attendants from systemic sexual harassment following her own alleged sexual assault by a pilot.

On July 6, Lewis said she was handing out pamphlets about her #crewmetoo campaign outside the U.S. and International departures terminal.

But shortly after arriving, Lewis was approached by YVR personnel and communications staff, who asked her to leave.

“Initially, I was told by security that my expression was fine,” Lewis said in a letter she has since sent to the Vancouver Airport Authority.

“Shortly thereafter, I was told that I had to stop handing out pamphlets on the basis of a ‘conflict of interest’ with a major airport tenant. I asked for more information about that conflict, but it was never provided.”

In an emailed statement to Black Press Media, Vancouver Airport Authority communication specialist Tess Messmer said the airport was not aware that Lewis would be protesting ahead of July 6.

#MeToo At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

“We typically ask individuals or groups who plan to protest, picket and/or strike at YVR to work closely with our operations team in advance of their activities to ensure minimal disruption to our passengers and operations,” Messmer said, adding that if a group does give notice, the airport authority will help find a spot near the terminal building.

According to the airport authority, handing out pamphlets is generally prohibited, Messmer said, as most of the paper and other materials end up being discarded, and can negatively impact YVR roadways and building cleanliness.

“More significantly, these materials, if caught by the wind and carried, could also pose a possible risk YVRs airside operations,” Messmer said.

Lewis said she plans to return on July 20, and Messmer said the airport has been in touch with Lewis.

In January, WestJet filed an appeal after a B.C. Supreme Court judge refused to throw out the lawsuit in December, 2017.

The airline argues Justice Mary Humphries was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action, repeating its argument that the dispute belongs before a human rights tribunal and workers’ compensation board.

In addition to the class-action lawsuit, Lewis earlier filed another legal action against the company. In that claim, which has been placed on hold while the class action proceeds, Lewis says was sexually assaulted by a pilot while on a stopover in Hawaii in 2010.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

WATCH: Mandalena Lewis talks about fixing harassment-prone workplace culture

With a file from The Canadian Press


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Wet’suwet’en supporters gather in Abbotsford

Solidarity march sees group of 50 people walk around Downtown Abbotsford

Another Abbotsford resident defrauded with elaborate phone scam

Thieves steal almost $16,000 from one resident, the tenth known victim in last 5 month

Abbotsford mosque gets online hate for exhibit on Jesus

Event meant to bring community together gets attacked teaching religous differences

UFV Cascades fall to Alberta in quarter-final

Offence short circuits in 62-48 loss to Pandas in Calgary

Homeless count is coming to the Fraser Valley to help track the numbers

Training Feb. 27 in Chilliwack to help volunteers adopt respectful and compassionate approach

VIDEO: Abbotsford senior recalls ‘crazy’ decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

New Alberta forward joins Vancouver Giants’ ranks

new left-handed 18-year-old is a familiar face to Giants head coach Michael Dyck

‘A bag full of garbage every 15 metres’: Surrey industrial area filled with trash

Local workers looking to recruit business, raise funds to help dispose of litter

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Brand new Tesla crashes into Surrey store front, mounts gas line

Driver was heading to the Autoplan store, straight off the lot

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

Mugging with airsoft gun results in Langley school lockdown

Police found the weapon and a stolen phone later

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Most Read