What Is workplace harassment?
Harassment is broadly defined in Human Rights and Occupational Health and Safety legislation. Workplace harassment may include:
- sexual harassment
- intimidating or offensive jokes
- displays or circulation of offensive pictures or material
- comments, phone calls, or text messages that are unwelcome, offensive or intimidating
Sometimes, harassment takes the form of school yard-like bullying. Leering, unwelcome gifts or attention, offensive gestures and spreading rumours at work or online might also be considered harassment, even when these actions are not focused directly at you. If the discriminatory comments or behaviour of others results in a hostile or “poisoned” work environment for you, you may be a victim of workplace harassment.
Workplace harassment is usually a pattern of ongoing behaviour, but it can arise from a single incident if it is severe and has a lasting impact on you. Remember that you are always free to speak to a workplace harassment lawyer about the incident and discuss what steps you can take to handle it.
Individuals should not have to endure persecution from co-workers, customers, employers—anyone in the workplace.
Any kind of workplace harassment is terrible to endure; and it can affect not just your ability to do your job but your home life as well.
What can I do about workplace harassment?
The first step is usually to raise the issue with your employer.
Many provinces have legislation requiring employers to take measures to protect their employees from workplace harassment. If you are an Ontario employee, for instance, your employer must have policies and programs in place allowing you to make complaints, and to have those complaints investigated—even if your employer or supervisor is the harasser.
What if I cannot raise the issue with my employer?
If you complain to your employer about workplace harassment and you are fired as a result, this is known as a reprisal. Reprisals are illegal. If your employer has committed a reprisal against you, you can either sue them for wrongful dismissal or file a complaint under occupational health and safety legislation.
In addition, workplace harassment can become so unbearable that it amounts to a constructive dismissal, in which case you may be able to quit and sue your employer for wrongful dismissal.
If any of these situations happen to you, don’t wait to speak with a work harassment lawyer.
What can the lawyers at Levitt LLP do for me?
You do not need a lawyer to tell you that you have been harassed—but you do need a lawyer to help you prove it.
Workplace Harassment is at the forefront of employment law. You need a lawyer who is up to date and ready to fight to protect your right to a harassment-free workplace.
Levitt LLP’s lawyers are trusted employment law experts on workplace harassment in Toronto, the GTA and across Canada. They craft policies for employers that comply with the rapidly evolving law in this area, and we successfully represent employees who have been harassed in the workplace.
We know what you are going through. You don’t need to suffer alone and in silence. We are here to help you.
Each situation is unique, so schedule a consultation today with a Levitt LLP workplace harassment lawyer in Toronto, the GTA or across Canada to learn about your options.
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