“Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job related consequences for the victims of the harassment. By requiring an employee, male or female, to contend with unwelcome sexual actions or explicit sexual demands, sexual harassment in the workplace attacks the dignity and self respect of the victim both as an employee and as a human being.” – The Canadian legal definition of Sexual Harassment
Some examples of sexual harassment are:
- Asking for sex in exchange for a benefit or a favour
- Repeatedly asking for dates, and not taking “no” for an answer
- Demanding hugs
- Making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching
- Using rude or insulting language or making comments toward women
(or men, depending on the circumstances)
- Calling people sex-specific derogatory names
- Making sex-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics
- Saying or doing something because you think a person does not conform
to sex-role stereotypes
- Posting or sharing pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually
explicit graffiti, or other sexual images (including online)
- Making sexual jokes
- Bragging about sexual prowess.
Employers that do not take steps to prevent sexual harassment can face major costs in decreased productivity, low morale, increased absenteeism and health care costs, and potential legal expenses. Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, sexual harassment is “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought to be known to be unwelcome.” In some cases, one incident could be serious enough to be sexual harassment. Both women and men may experience sexual harassment in employment, but women tend to be more vulnerable to it because they often hold lower paying, lower-authority and lower-status jobs compared to men. At the same time, even women in positions of authority may experience sexual harassment.
What to do when being sexually harassed?
Ask them politely but firmly to stop and let them know that it’s making you uncomfortable/that what they say isn’t right.
- Make a report to within your firm about this person’s behaviour.
- Contact Equity Ombudsperson to get help and see what your options are.
- Consider mediation.Formal Options:
- Make a formal complaint to the Law Society.
- Make a human rights complaint and/or a civil action.
As a boss it is important to make sure that the work environment is harassment-free and making sure that your employees feel safe. For more information on the steps and laws on Sexual Harassment please feel free to check at the bottom of the page for the link.
- The last reported sexual harassment statistics in Canada showed that young women are the most likely to be sexually harassed with 10% of women 18 to 24 years of age having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace within the previous 12 months.
- Single women are more likely to be sexually harassed than married women. The statistics show that single women between the ages of 25 to 45 experienced sexual harassment at the same rate as young women aged 18 to 24 years.
- Of the reported cases of workplace sexual harassment 55% were perpetrated by co-workers. The percentage of sexual harassment cases involving a supervisor or manager was 39%. Sexual harassment by a client or customer was 13%.
- 7% of male workers in the US reported being sexually harassed at work. (2008 telephone poll by Louis Harris and Associates)
- 94% of workers who are treated uncivilly say they have attempted to get even with their tormentors. (Christine Pearson and Christine Porath)
-Ivybelle- Stay strong. Stay Beautiful. Stay you.
Laws in BC about sexual harassment: