What is harassment?

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Harassment is a form of discrimination. It involves any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behaviour that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.

Harassment occurs when someone:

  • makes unwelcome remarks or jokes about your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination
  • threatens or intimidates you. 
  • makes unwelcome physical contact with you, such as touching, patting, pinching or punching, which can also be considered assault.

Employers and service providers are responsible for providing an environment or service that is free of harassment. It is your employer’s or service provider's responsibility to take action when harassment occurs.

What can I do if I am harassed?

Do not ignore harassment. Report it. If you fear for your safety, or the safety of others, contact the police.

If harassment occurs at work, you should first contact the person listed in your workplace anti-harassment policy. If no policy is available, find out if there is a company grievance procedure to help you, or contact your union representative. If harassment occurs while receiving service from a business, contact the customer service department.

Keep a written record of the incidents, including times, places and witnesses.

You may also be able to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.


Chapter 4: Harassment

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