Davidar, Rundle, and Penguin Canada are not talking to the press at the moment, but one of Rundle’s more damaging claims against Penguin – outlined in a 19-page legal filing sent to Q&Q by Rundle’s lawyer, Bobbi Olsen – is that the company’s human resources department was aware of prior sexual harassment by Davidar of at least one other employee, former executive assistant Samantha Francis. (Francis, who still works in the industry, gave Q&Q permission to run her name in this article.)
According to the claim, in summer 2008 Francis filed a complaint against Davidar with vice-president of human resources Ann Wood, and also forwarded the complaint to Allan Reynolds, president and CEO of Pearson Canada, Penguin Canada’s parent company. Rundle goes on to state that Davidar showed her a copy of Francis’s complaint and told her that Francis had since “come to her senses” and recanted. Shortly after this conversation, Francis was promoted to paperwork editor, reporting directly to executive editor of fiction Nicole Winstanley. Approximately six to eight months following the promotion, Francis left the company.