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)