An Open Discussion About Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is illegal in Ontario. We introduced legislation specifically to address and eradicate it in 2009. You have the right to work in a safe and healthy workplace. When left unchecked, workplace harassment can escalate to violence. It can cause mental or physical health problems and lead to staff absences. Ultimately, it can result in a toxic workplace and constructive dismissal. Your employer must deal with workplace harassment swiftly and decisively. In September 2016, the Ontario government updated the workplace harassment law. This came after public outrage at the CBC’s inaction following employee complaints that resulted in the Jian Ghomeshi case. Today, your employer must conduct a proper investigation when any employee files a complaint of workplace harassment.
Bullying at work looks just like it did in the school yard. Unfortunately, some individuals never outgrow this behaviour. Well into their adulthood, they bring their aggressive personalities to the office and continue to inflict the same harm on others. But this time around it is against the law.
Here are examples of bullying – You get berated, humiliated in front of others, isolated and subjected to malicious gossip and rumours.
The correct thing to do in this case is to approach your HR department. However, some employers condone and engage in this type of behaviour as a means of control. Going to HR can sometimes make things worse. You can get pegged as the troublemaker and end up getting fired instead of the perpetrator.
Almost always, this situation requires legal intervention. The earlier you bring us in, the better are your chances to salvage your job.
Returning to Work from Maternity or Illness Leave
In our experience, employees returning from maternity or illness leave are most susceptible to workplace harassment. This is when some employers start comparing you to the person who filled in for you. Perhaps they will decide that you are less-than-productive. Your supervisor may demote you, subject you to an unreasonable workload or expose you to underhanded harassment. Once again, consulting with us early in the process can allow us to manage your case properly.
This constitutes the most egregious form of workplace harassment. Sexual harassment undermines an individual’s sense of personal dignity. It can prevent them from doing their job effectively and reaching their full potential.
Sexual harassment includes behaviors like unwelcome sexual advances and requests for sexual favours. It can present as sexual comments and suggestive jokes. Physically it manifests itself as unwelcome touching or brushing up against a person. Sexual harassment can escalate toviolence and completed sexual assault.
Both women and men experience sexual harassment at work. However, women tend to be more vulnerable because they usually hold lower-paying jobs and have less authority compared to men. Regardless, even women in positions of authority can experience sexual harassment.
Our law protects you from harassment at every step of the employment process. This includes the recruiting period, after you are hired and even when you are disciplined or fired. Contacting us as early as possible in the process will help us manage this to your benefit.
Have you ever given up your seat on the subway or held open a door for a disabled person?