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Harassment in the Workplace

Women, Aboriginal peoples, visible minorities, and LGBQT individuals often face "polite" rejections when job hunting and often confront "subtle discrimination" which prevents them from gaining promotions and senior positions. Pay and employment equity, sexual harassment and discrimination continue to be pervasive problems in Canadian workplaces. Sexual harassment always involves an abuse of power. The overwhelming majority of cases that pass through the legal system involve men sexually harassing women. Feelings of fear, guilt, and embarrassment usually plague victims of sexual harassment, sometimes silencing them. These feelings, the economic dependence that ties women and minorities to their jobs, and uncertainties about the legal system and workers' rights can lead to distress and disempowerment. By working with community organizations, corporate and governmental workplaces, universities and unions, we can promote agency and provide options for dealing with harassment.

Suggested Activities

  • Workplace Workshop - Do the staff in your organization feel free from discrimination and harassment? Make time for a workshop or staff discussion about your organization's harassment policies and practices. Set time to organize a half day of workshops and discussions to establish your commitment to a violence-free workplace.
  • Workplace Pledge Card - Is your work environment free of violence? Work collaboratively with staff in your organization to create a workplace pledge card.  This activity will facilitate staff discussion and establish your commitment to working violence free.
  • Safety Audit – Take time in the workplace to organize an audit and assessment of workplace safety.  Establish a working committee and organize with them ways to share what programs and policies are currently in place and ways in which you are hoping to improve.

Looking for women’s anti-violence resources in Canada to help you plan your event or connect with a community partner?  Check out our extensive list.