An employer may be liable to compensate an employee if the employee was terminated for a discriminatory reason because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or disability.
In addition, the employer may be liable to compensate the employee for discrimination that happened before the termination and/or any harassment in the workplace by the employer or employee of the employer.
Please contact Mackenzie Law if you would like to learn more. We offer a free consultation.
In Ontario, the law provides that everyone has the right to be free from unwelcome comments or conduct in the workplace. Harassment can come in many forms including but not limited to:
- Unwelcome remarks about race, religion, sex, or age any other grounds of discrimination;
- Unwelcome physical contact;
- Threats or intimidating remarks; and
Sexual harassment is the engaging 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;
- 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.
All employers in Ontario must prepare and review their workplace harassment policy at least once a year.
If the employer or an employee of the employer is guilty of harassment, the employer can be fined, ordered to change its policies, make accommodations, and compensate the victim financially as much as $250,000 or more. In addition, employers must now investigate all harassment allegations due to a recent government law (Bill 132). Employers who fail to conduct an investigation, or do a faulty one, are liable for fines and damages.
Contact Mackenzie Law today if you would like to learn more about your responsibility as an employer where an employee reports harassment in the workplace. We offer a free consultation.