Bullying, Harassment and the Workplace
If you are experiencing harassment and or bullying, you have a right to refuse work. Most importantly, your rights deserve to be protected as you deserve to work in a non-hostile work environment. Contact Mackenzie Law to help you fight for your rights and seek redress for the breach of your Human Rights to have a safe and violence free work environment.
Harassment may involve unwelcome words or actions that are known or should be known to be offensive, embarrassing, humiliating or demeaning to a worker or group of workers in a workplace. It can also include behaviour that intimidates, isolates, or even discriminates against the targeted individuals. This may include but is not limited to the following:
- making remarks, jokes or innuendos that demean, ridicule, intimidate, or offend;
- displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials in print or electronic form;
- repeated offensive or intimidating phone calls or e-mails; or
- workplace sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is the engagement in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Sexual harassment also takes place when a sexual solicitation or advance is made whereby the person making it is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know the solicitation or advance is unwelcome. Workplace sexual harassment may include:
- asking questions, talking, or writing about sexual activities;
- rough or vulgar humour or language related to sexuality, sexual orientation or gender;
- displaying or circulating pornography, sexual images, or offensive sexual jokes in print or electronic form;
- o leering or inappropriate staring;
- invading personal space;
- unnecessary physical contact, including inappropriate touching;
- demanding hugs, dates, or sexual favours;
- making gender-related comments about someone’s physical characteristics, mannerisms, or conformity to sex-role stereotypes;
- verbally abusing, threatening, or taunting someone based on gender or sexual orientation; or
- threatening to penalize or otherwise punish a worker if they refuse a sexual advance.
Where the conduct or behaviour includes inappropriate sexual touching, this may also constitute a criminal offence such as sexual assault. In such cases, the police should be notified.
It is important to keep in mind that not all bad behaviour on the part of a manager or co-worker amounts to unlawful conduct. In the end, no workplace is immune from the occasional personality clash with prickly coworkers or bad managers. However, there can be a fine line between poor management and unlawful harassment.
If you are a victim of workplace harassment, consult with an employment lawyer before taking any steps. Mackenzie Law is here to help you protect your right to be free from harassment in the workplace, so call us for a free consultation.