Workplace Sexual Harassment

Workplace sexual harassment is common problem in Ontario. Often unreported, its affects can cause of a loss of one’s dignity preventing you from doing your job properly, earning a living, advancing in the workplace and can create a fearful work environment. Under the Ontario Human Rights code employers are required to prevent or stop sexual harassment in the workplace. You have the right to file a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and your employer cannot penalize them for doing so. The Ontario Human Rights Code defines workplace sexual harassment as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.” Some of the most common instances include:

  • Offensive jokes and innuendosworkplace sexual harassment
  • Repeatedly asking for dates, not taking “no” for an answer
  • Unnecessary physical contact
  • Spreading rumours
  • Leering
  • Using insinuating language toward a coworker
  • Asking to exchange sex for a favour
  • Commenting when you think someone does not behave within a sex-role stereotype
  • Sexually themed jokes
  • Sharing pornography
  • Demanding hugs

Occupational Health and Safety Act and Workplace Sexual Harassment

It is an employer’s responsibility to do their due diligence to prevent workplace sexual harassment. Under the Occupation Health and Safety Act, employers are required to prepare a policy regarding sexual harassment, but a written policy alone does not guarantee effectiveness. They are also required to develop a policy to maintain and implement their sexual harassment policy. This must include safe and effective methods in which employees can report harassment without fear of repercussions, and it must explain how they will investigate and deal with harassment.

If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment it is best to contact a lawyer immediately. It is your right to take full legal action without fear of penalties or repercussions from your employer.

For a free consultation with a workplace sexual harassment lawyer call us at:



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