Workplace Sexual Harassment: Reporting options.

AuthorBlythe, Quinn


Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Workers' Resource Centre's Workplace Sexual Harassment Advisory Program aims to educate survivors on options for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Sexual harassment occurs at work, often without acknowledgement, and leaves workers with lasting impacts. It creates unsafe and unproductive workplaces.

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct, comment, gesture, or contact that is gender-related or sexual in nature that makes the recipient feel uncomfortable, unsafe, offended, or humiliated. It is often coercive and emotionally abusive. It does not matter whether the behaviour was intentional or not.

The 2017 #MeToo movement brought much-needed awareness to the issue. Workers around the globe shared their experiences and the trauma they endured from sexual harassment and violence. While workplace sexual harassment is maybe not talked about as much as it was in 2017-2018, it is still very much an issue that plagues workplaces.

Experiencing Sexual Harassment

A 2020 Statistics Canada report found that one-quarter of women and one-sixth of men reported having personally experienced inappropriate sexualized behaviours in their workplace. We know that offences related to sexual violence often go unreported, thus we suspect this number is much higher.

Workplace sexual harassment has significant impacts on both the worker and employer. Sexual harassment is traumatic to experience and has both physical and mental health impacts on the survivor. They may become absent from work more often to avoid the harassment, leading to both financial and productivity costs for the employer. The survivor may also go on leave or change jobs, which can contribute to career costs for the employee. The Alberta Human Rights Commission suggests "sexual harassment in the workplace can be costly for employers in terms of financial costs and employee morale, especially for employers who do not have an effective sexual harassment policy and who do not treat such complaints seriously".

Workers may report sexual harassment to their employer or someone on the leadership team. However, workers often do not report it to their employer out of fear of being punished, terminated, or not taken seriously. Many workers do not know there are ways to report harassment to someone outside the workplace.

Workplace Sexual Harassment Advisory Program

The Workers Resource Centre (WRC) created the Workplace Sexual...

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