Former summer student suing City of Mississauga after alleged sexual assault

Mississauga city hall

The City of Mississauga is facing a $2.5-million lawsuit being filed by a former summer student who claims she was sexually assaulted by another worker, while on the job. 

The 19-year-old woman alleges she was attacked by a contract worker in mid-July at Whiteoaks Park. The man has been charged with sexual assault and is to appear in court on Friday. 

While the criminal case unfolds, the student is filing a civil suit claiming that her employer was negligent and failed to protect her. 

"Certainly when someone is working in an office in a cubicle, they can be left alone," says the student's lawyer, Michael Smitiuch. "But if you're sending a young lady to an isolated location, then common sense should prevail."

A statement of claim also alleges that the city "acted in a wilfully blind manner," failed to provide adequate counselling, and failed to have emergency medical policies in place to properly identify and attend to victims of sexual assault. 

Smitiuch goes on to allege that his client's supervisor tried to pressure her to return to work when she was not ready to do so, and the claim also includes an allegation of wrongful termination. 

Mississauga's city solicitor Mary Ellen Bench writes in a statement to NEWSTALK 1010 that the city takes all such allegations seriously and "cares deeply for the wellbeing" of its employees. 

"We can confirm that there was a situation involving these individuals and the City took immediate and direct action," the statement reads. 

Bench writes that the city is confident in its actions and will "vigorously defend" its position.