Workplace Sexual Harassment Initiative
The Department of Justice Canada is funding us to provide free legal advice regarding workplace sexual harassment. In addition, we are funded to create free public legal education on the subject.
If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment or are interested in education on the issue, such as free print materials or workshops, please call us at 1-800-461-8953 Ext. 0.
Our YouTube videos, like the one below, offer general information about workplace sexual harassment.
What is sexual harassment?
The Ontario Human Rights Commission describes sexual harassment as any unwanted or unwelcome behaviour that is sexual in nature and impacts you negatively. This may include conduct such as:
• unwelcome contact or closeness
• remarks, including teasing and talk about sexual activities
• unwelcome demands for dates
• requests for sexual favours
• spreading sexual rumours (including on-line)
• displays of sexually offensive pictures or graffiti.
In a workplace setting, sexual harassment could be perpetrated by employers, supervisors, co-workers, or clients/customers. It could occur outside of the physical walls of a workplace and outside of scheduled working hours (eg. during work-related travel or gatherings).
What is the effect of sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment can injure a person’s dignity and, if left unchecked, has the potential to escalate into violent behaviour. In the workplace, it can prevent workers from doing their jobs effectively and make them feel unwelcome or unsafe in their work environments.
“I was 19 years old and working in a restaurant. One of the owners would always corner me in the kitchen and pressure me to go on a ‘date.’ It was the middle of a recession and I needed the money for tuition, so I had no choice but to put up with it. I hated every single day. I wish there had been someone to help me.”
“I told my manager that a client had groped me. Instead of taking my concerns seriously, she commented on my clothing. I did nothing more as I was concerned about being seen as ‘over-sensitive’ or a ‘complainer.’ I worried that if I caused problems, I would lose my job.”
What can you do if you are sexually harassed at work?
Call us at 1-800-461-8953 Ext. 0.
We acknowledge the financial support of the Department of Justice Canada.