Sexual Harassment: A Pervasive Workplace Phenomenon

Why is reporting incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace rare?

Sexual harassment unfortunately continues to ravage the workplace into 2023. A survey conducted by the Workers’ Resource Centre (WRC) this year found that reporting incidents of sexual harassment continues to be rare, with only 11% of respondents having reported such incidents to a manager or boss, and 7% having reported the same to human resources. Even executives, near the top of the ladder in the corporate structure, have only a 19% rate when it comes to discussing these matters with social services or a not-for-profit.

What are the reasons behind the lack of support from organizations for victims of sexual harassment?

Even in the modern era, there is still undeniably a stigma associated with associating oneself or being perceived to have associated oneself with an incident of sexual harassment. However, 35% of surveyed workers said that lack of support from their organization was a compelling reason not to report incidents of sexual harassment, with smaller proportions stating that they felt their report would not be taken seriously, or worse, they felt it would lead to negative consequences for their careers.

What laws protect individuals from sexual harassment in the workplace?

There are ways in which you can empower yourself if you find yourself in a complex and untenable situation of sexual harassment. Detailed note-taking of these incidents can help create a record that can then be presented to human resources and/or management. They can also be used if you later decide to consult a lawyer. The law protects you from sexual harassment as well. Harassment is prohibited by both the Occupational Health and Safety Act and sexual harassment is prohibited under the Human Rights Code. Further, if the harassment does not cease and management turns a blind eye, you may be allowed to leave and start a constructive dismissal claim.

In some cases, there are resources that workers can take advantage of as well. The WRC has launched Its goal is to provide resources for workers, who can use the website to find relevant organizations in their area that can assist them, learn about the law and how best to handle incidents of sexual harassment.

How can Whitten & Lublin employment lawyers assist victims of sexual harassment?

If you or someone you know feels that they are experiencing sexual harassment at work, it is important to speak with an experienced employment lawyer to understand your workplace rights.  The experienced employment lawyers Whitten & Lublin are happy to provide insight and advice into your specific circumstances. If you are looking for employment lawyers and would like more information about what Whitten & Lublin can do for you, please contact us online or by phone at (416) 640-2667.

Author – Carson Healey