Sexual Harassment

Sexual Abuse and Harassment

Have you or someone you know been sexually harassed or abused at work or in the regular coarse of your life? If so, you should immediately meet with one of our experienced lawyers to decide which course of action is most appropriate and what steps to take in order to advance your claim or complaint.  You may have a claim available to you for general damages and loss of income and/or coverage of any medical attention you require including psychological intervention.

The Supreme Court of Canada has defined sexual harassment as “unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that affects the work environment or leads to adverse job related consequences for the victims of the harassment…”

Sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of unwelcome conduct of a sexual or gender-related nature including, but not limited to:

  • Verbal comments;
  • Unreasonable solicitations; and
  • Gestures or physical conduct (groping, grabbing, touching, foundling, etc)

At Impact Law, we are experienced practitioners in the areas of civil sexual assault and abuse, work place harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil litigation claims.

It is important to note that employees who are subject to sexual harassment have the option of a human rights claim (HRTO) or a lawsuit.

If you or someone you know has been sexually harassed at work, or by a work colleague while at work or not (physically) at work you should immediately contact one of our experienced lawyers at Impact Law LLP to receive a free legal consultation on your different legal options available.  An action may be available against your employer directly if they failed to take reasonable steps to address/stop such behaviour effectively or permitted it to continue.

Some more regular examples of sexual harassment are:​

  • asking for sex in exchange for a benefit or a favour
  • repeatedly asking for dates, and not taking “no” for an answer
  • demanding hugs
  • making unnecessary physical contact, including unwanted touching
  • using rude or insulting language or making comments toward women
    (or men, depending on the circumstances)
  • calling people sex-specific derogatory names
  • making sex-related comments about a person’s physical characteristics
    or actions
  • saying or doing something because you think a person does not conform
    to sex-role stereotypes
  • posting or sharing pornography, sexual pictures or cartoons, sexually
    explicit graffiti, or other sexual images (including online)
  • making sexual jokes
  • bragging about sexual prowess.

 

Sexual Harassment (Teachers and Students in Classroom, High School, College or University)

Sexual harassment and abuse at school by a superior or classmate is a serious claim.  Manipulation of power positions for sexual gain is wrong and can have serious long standing psychological effects on minors and young adults alike.  It can curtail educational ambitions, and interfere with educational goals and performance.  Common results of such abuse include, skipping classes, underperformance, loss of attention, depression, anxiety, mood swings, social isolation, substance abuse and suicidal ideations.  If the institution become aware of such behaviour but fails to act reasonably, they can also be held liable in an action.  Contact one of our experience lawyers to discuss your options.

 

The Law

It is useful to set out the applicable provisions of the Code:

5(1) Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to employment without discrimination 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.

7(2) Every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression by his or her employer or agent of the employer or by another employee.

7(3) Every person has a right to be free from,

(a) a sexual solicitation or advance made by a person in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the person where the person making the solicitation or advance knows or ought reasonably to know that it is unwelcome […]

  1. “harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.