A Workplace Epidemic
Sexual harassment is real, and no one should feel unsafe at in their workplace. In Ontario, harassment includes repeated behaviours like making suggestive comments or requests of you, phone calls or emails that make you uncomfortable, and showing you explicit photos or materials. Your employer is required to protect you from this kind of behaviour. Unfortunately, the reality is that more than 40% of women face sexual harassment in their workplace.
If you’re a woman who is being, or has been, sexually harassed at work, what can you do about it?
Power is a very serious dynamic at play when it comes to workplace sexual harassment, whether it’s a colleague, boss or even a client who is acting inappropriately towards you.
The first thing to do is to carefully document the harassment or inappropriate behaviour:
Write down what’s being offered to you or asked of you, and if you started getting treated differently at your workplace as a result.
Did anyone see or hear what happened who could back up your experiences? Don’t worry if there wasn’t – harassers tend to act out in ways or places where no one is a witness, knowing that what they’re doing is wrong.
If texts, emails, letters or other types of physical proof of the harassment are available, gather them and make copies if possible; don’t delete anything that may support your experiences if you decide to seek help to stop the behaviour.
If you have experienced harassment at work, you may want to take legal action. The law can help protect you if you’re currently being harassed at work or it can help achieve justice for pain and losses endured because of someone’s sexually inappropriate behaviours.
Power is a very serious dynamic.
Remember, it’s not your fault if you’ve been sexually harassed. You deserve to work in a safe environment. And we stand with you.