If you are being harassed at work, or are experiencing some kind of conflict, you’re probably not sure what to do. You aren’t alone. You can access lots of support and services. There are many people and organizations that can help.
What do you mean by harassment?
- Sexual harassment (unwanted sexual acts, including saying something that makes you uncomfortable, staring, whistling, or unwanted touching)
- Verbal abuse (including saying things that make you feel bad about yourself, or saying something discriminatory, racist, homophobic, transphobic...etc)
- Physical abuse (including hitting or any other violent force)
What are my rights?
Your rights are based on the Ontario Human Rights Code. This code says it is illegal to discriminate against you based on your:
- race, colour
- ancestry, place of origin, ethnic origin, creed
- sex or sexual orientation
- record of offences
- marital status, same-sex partnership status, family status
What should I do if I’m being harassed at work?
Harassment can happen anytime there is an unbalanced distribution of power, or one person is more powerful than another. It can also happen when power is equal (like between you and a co-worker).
If you are being harassed at work, tell the person who is harassing you to stop. If that doesn’t work, tell an adult you trust, like a teacher or supervisor. If your supervisor does not take care of the issue, you can contact the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. They will tell you what steps you can take to make sure this harassment stops. You can also contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for human-rights related legal and support services. This can range from advice and support to legal representation.
Where can I go if there is conflict at work?
If there is conflict at work, or if you are experiencing harassment or racism, you should bring it up with your supervisor first, even if the conflict is with your supervisor.
If your employer is not respecting the Code, or is not responding to your concerns, you can speak with someone at the Ministry of Labour. They will give you information about filing a claim. There is no cost to filing a claim and an employer cannot punish you for filing one.
To contact the Ministry of Labour:
Call the Employment Standards Information Centre 1-800-531-5551
For those with hearing difficulties, call 1-866-567-8893 (TTY)