Workplace Sexual Harassment

Through
our new Respect at Work Legal Clinic, our office can provide free legal
advice to newcomers to Canada who have faced or are facing sexual harassment in
the workplace. Under this project, MWC will be holding free legal clinics at
different ISS of BC offices in Vancouver, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Surrey,
Langley, Maple Ridge, Burnaby, and Richmond to provide legal information and
advice.

For
appointments, call 604-684-3599 or
email jobquest@issbc.org.

In addition to the
legal clinics, MWC also has a new hotline that is open Tuesday to Saturday from
9 am to 5 pm and Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5 pm to 8 pm. Any newcomer who has faced or is facing
workplace sexual harassment can call this hotline for information and advice,
or to make an appointment with MWC.

The hotline number is: 604-404-1931.

What is sexual harassment in the workplace?

Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as
“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”[1].
 

Most victims of
sexual harassment are women, but persons of all gender identities and sexual
orientations can be affected. Sexual harassment can occur between individuals of
different genders or between individuals of the same gender.

We tend to associate sexual harassment with
physical and overtly sexual conduct. However, sexual harassment may be
psychological and can be subtle. It can take many forms, including:

  • unwanted
    touching
  • making
    offensive jokes or remarks about women or men
  • making
    sexual requests or suggestions
  • staring
    at or making unwelcome comments about someone’s body
  • showing
    sexual pictures or images
  • being
    verbally abusive to someone because of gender

Inappropriate sexual
behaviour often develops over time but a single event may,
depending on the particular context, be sufficient to constitute sexual
harassment.


[1] Janzen v. Platy Enterprises, [1989] 1
SCR 1252, 1989 CanLII 97 (SCC)