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Sexual Harassment at Work

The Canadian Labour Code gives all employees the right to employment free of sexual harassment and states that employers must take action to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.
Examples of sexual harassment
  • Comments, gestures or contact of a sexual nature that humiliates or offends someone.
  • Requests for sexual favours.
  • Use of offensive language or telling dirty jokes.
  • Persistent unwanted sexual advances.
  • Any behaviour toward an employee whereby he/she may feel that sexual conditions are being placed on their employment
Did you know?
  • The victim as well as the harasser can be a man or a woman.
  • The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
Preventing harassment: for employers
  • Increase your awareness of sexual harassment and create or review your current policy.
  • Increase the awareness of sexual harassment among your employees. Make sure they understand what sexual harassment comprises and that it will not be tolerated. Education and awareness can often stop or prevent sexual harassment
  • Be a role model. Set an example of the type of behaviour you expect from  your employees.
Preventing sexual harassment: for employees
  • Do not bring sexually related items (pornography, lingerie, gag gifts, etc.) to work.
  • If you ask someone out, and they turn you down, take no for an answer.
  • If someone tells you that you have done something that bothers him or her, refrain from that behaviour. Remember that what is acceptable behaviour to one person can be offensive to another.
What to do if you are being sexually harassed at work
  • Do not assume the behaviour will stop on its own.
  • Tell the harasser exactly what about their behaviour offends you, and ask them to stop.
  • Tell someone. By confiding in someone you trust it may help you feel less isolated.
  • If after following your company's procedure for filing a complaint and the harassment has not stopped, contact a lawyer.