What Is workplace harassment?
“Workplace harassment” is broadly defined in Human Rights and Occupational Health and Safety legislation.
It may include sexual harassment, teasing, intimidating or offensive jokes and innuendos. It might involve displaying or circulating offensive pictures or material. Harassment can include unwelcome, offensive or intimidating comments, phone calls or text messages.
Sometimes, harassment takes the form of school yard-like bullying. Leering, unwelcome gifts or attention, and offensive gestures fall under the umbrella of what the law is there to protect you against. Spreading rumours about you at work or online might also be considered harassment.
You might be experiencing workplace harassment even if no one is directing specific comments or behaviour towards 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 can arise from one single incident if it is severe and has a lasting impact on you.
The source of workplace harassment can be your co-workers, customers, your employer – 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 of workplace harassment, and to have those complaints investigated – even if your employer or supervisor is the harasser.
What if I cannot raise the harassment 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, sometimes workplace harassment becomes so unbearable that it amounts to a constructive dismissal, in which case you would be able to quit and sue your employer for wrongful dismissal.
What can the employment lawyers at Levitt LLP do for me?
You do not need an employment lawyer to tell you that you have been harassed — but you do need an employment lawyer to help you prove it.
Workplace Harassment is on the cutting edge of employment law. You need an employment lawyer who is up to date and ready to fight to protect your right to a harassment-free workplace.
Levitt LLP’s employment lawyers are experts in employment law and harassment in Toronto, the GTA and across Canada. Our employment Lawyers are trusted employment law experts on workplace harassment. Our employment lawyers are trusted to craft workplace harassment 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 one of our employment lawyers in Toronto, the GTA or across Canada to learn about your options.
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