There are three key elements of sexual harassment in the workplace:
conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature,
conduct that is unwelcome, and
conduct that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to negative job-related consequences.
If you’re being sexually harassed at your workplace, take action as soon as possible. Let the harasser know that you don’t accept the behaviour and you want it to stop. Tell them you’ll report it if it continues.
If dealing directly with the harasser doesn’t work, you can talk to your employer or someone in human resources. Find out your employer’s policy on human rights complaints. All employers in BC are required to have a policy on bullying and harassment, which should include a complaint process. If you belong to a union, talk to the union representative.
If the behaviour continues, you can make a human rights complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal. If the tribunal finds your complaint justified, they can make an order to stop the harassment. As well, they can order the harasser to compensate you for lost income or expenses and injury to your dignity, feelings, and self-respect.
If the sexual harassment you experience results in you developing a mental disorder, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation. See the WorkSafeBC website for further guidance.
We take you through these steps in detail in our in-depth coverage of if you’re sexually harassed at work.