“As Employment Equity Representatives, we support and work towards a harassment free and nondiscriminatory work environment”

Every employee has the right to work in an environment free of discrimination and harassment. This right includes the responsibility to eliminate harassment in our workplace, either as a participant or as an observer.

Harassment is defined as a “course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome,” that denies individual dignity and respect on the basic of the prohibited grounds.

Prohibited Grounds

  • Age
  • Race
  • Ancestry
  • Colour
  • Citizenship
  • Ethnic origin
  • Place of origin
  • Creed
  • Disability
  • Family status
  • Marital status
  • Gender identity
  • Gender expression
  • Record of offences
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

All employees are expected to treat others with courtesy and consideration to discourage harassment. The workplace is defined as any company facility and includes areas such as offices, shop floors, restrooms, cafeterias, lockers, conference rooms, parking lots, and company related functions. Included is the use of social media in a context which may be related to the workplace

Workplace harassment includes, but is not limited to, the following examples:

  • Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendoes or taunting about another’s body, attire, sex, disability, racial or ethical background, sexual orientation, etc., which cause awkwardness or embarrassment.
  • Displaying visuals of a sexual, racial or otherwise offensive nature such as pornographic pictures, posters, graffiti, cartoons or simulation of body parts
  • Leering(suggestive staring) or other gestures
  • Unnecessary physical contact such as touching, patting or pinching
  • Sexual solicitation or advance made with implied reprisals if rejected
  • Refusing to work or share facilities with another employee because of the other’s sex, disability, sexual orientation, racial, religious, ethnic background or other prohibited grounds
  • Backlash or retaliation for the lodging of a complaint or participation in an investigation

Workplace Bullying

There may be occasions that you are experiencing harassment that is not a prohibited ground. This is workplace harassment which may include bullying, intimidating or offensive jokes or innuendos, displaying or circulating offensive pictures or materials, or offensive or intimidating phone calls.

  • Workplace bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.
  • Bullying does more than hurt someone’s feelings. It’s becoming increasingly recognized as a serious workplace problem that can cause undue stress, anxiety, and low morale among workers.

Workplace violence means:

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
  • A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

If you find yourself experiencing any form of harassment, or witness to any form of harassment contact your Employment Equity office. Private, confidential and supportive. You don’t have to work in a harassing/poisoned environment.