Prevent Sexual HarassmentPrevent Sexual Harassment
in the Workplace
Video DVD and E-Learning program on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace
by HR Proactive - Profit by Proactive PreventionTM

HR Proactive Inc.

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Prevent Sexual Harassment:
Employees Video DVD Kit

Sample leader guide


You may be thinking, “Why am I here? I already know what sexual harassment is” or “this doesn’t happen in my workplace.” But you are here today to learn about the legal definition of sexual harassment, liability, and what you can do if you believe you are being sexually harassed. Remember, no workplace is immune to sexual harassment. It can occur in any workplace, to any employee.

It is important to know that sexual harassment is against the law. It is also prohibited by your employer’s policy.

In Canada, each province has its own human rights law that prohibits employment discrimination based on certain protected grounds.

As well, the federal Human Rights Act, which covers those people working under federal jurisdiction, prohibits employment discrimination based on grounds that are virtually identical to those in provincial human rights law. (Those working under federal jurisdiction include the federal public service, the armed forces, and federally regulated businesses such as banks, railways, airlines, and interprovincial transportation)

All the various human rights laws in Canada, without exception, prohibit sexual harassment.

In short, there is no workplace in Canada where sexual harassment is not against the law.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can have significant and adverse impacts on both the employer and employees: it can negatively affect productivity, morale, absenteeism and the general health and well-being of employees in the workplaceand can result in increased turnover, complaints of discrimination, potential incidents of anger and physical confrontation, potentially large legal fees and a poor corporate image for the employer.

Liability for Sexual Harassment

To some extent every employee is responsible for ensuring a workplace free from harassment. There are different types of responsibility or liability.
  1. Corporate Liability

    An employer may be responsible for harassment by supervisors, managers, workers and agents of the employer, particularly if the employer knew or should have known about the harassment and did not take action to stop it.

    Once an employer is aware of harassment, it has an obligation to take immediate action. If the employer finds that allegations of harassment are substantiated, remedies need to be implemented that include a remedial component, to ensure that the behaviour is not repeated in the future.

    Employers and unions have an obligation to ensure that the working environment is free from sexual harassment or discrimination.

  2. Supervisors, Managers & Employees

    All employees, including supervisors and managers, are responsible for their own behaviour, and may be held personally liable if they sexually harass other employees or make inappropriate gender-related comments. Managers and supervisors are liable if they knew that harassment was occurring and did not take steps to stop it.
The Workplace

Employers and employees may also be held liable for incidents of sexual harassment that occur outside normal business hours or off-site, but are related to the workplace and impact employment. This includes using texting, email or other social media (like Facebook) to make offensive, suggestive jokes/remarks or continue pursuing a co-worker who has refused your advances at work.

A supervisor sexually propositions his administrative assistant in the parking lot after a staff holiday party.

Definition of Harassment

The following definition of harassment, taken from the Ontario Human Rights Code, is representative of how harassment is defined under Canadian law:

engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

As the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s Policy on Preventing Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment points out:

The reference to comment or conduct "that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome" establishes a subjective and objective test for harassment. The subjective part is the harasser’s own knowledge of how his or her behaviour is being received. The objective component considers, from the point of view of a “reasonable” third party, how such behaviour would generally be received. Determining the point of view of a “reasonable” third party must take into account the perspective of the person who is harassed.

Harassment, sexual or otherwise, is any unwanted conduct, whether verbal or physical, that humiliates or offends you. Harassment can interfere with your ability to do your work, and thus can result in serious consequences in the workplace.

Sexual harassment, in particular, has been defined as:

Unwelcome verbal or physical advances or suggestions of a sexual nature, any sexually explicit derogatory statement, any pattern of sexually discriminatory remarks made by someone in the workplace that is offensive or objectionable to the recipient, causes the recipient discomfort, creates a hostile atmosphere, or interferes with the recipient’s job performance.

In simpler terms, sexual harassment can include (but is not confined to):
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Requests for sexual favours
  • Other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature
In many sexual harassment cases, there is a power imbalance where the victim is:
  • in a subordinate position
  • newly arrived in Canada
  • much younger
  • in his or her first job
  • physically much smaller than the perpetrator
What is Not Sexual Harassment?
  • An occasional compliment;
  • Good-natured jokes and jesting where both parties find the conduct acceptable;
  • Office romance where both parties enter into a consensual relationship; (It should be noted that this carries risk. What happens if the relationship sours? How will that affect the parties’ ability to work together and the comfort level of their co-workers?)
  • Normal exercise of supervisory responsibilities including discipline or counselling.

is Key to Preventing
Sexual Harassment

This Prevent Sexual Harassment video DVD training program is an easy tool to help you meet your obligation to train your employees.

Our new 20-minute Sexual Harassment video DVD is a stand-alone program that can be used to train a group of employees or for remedial purposes for Individual One-to-One Training/Coaching.

This Prevent Sexual Harassment Kit contains:
  • One 20-minute video/DVD
  • Easy to use leader’s guide
  • Reproducible participant guide
  • Glossary & further references
  • Reproducible scheduling & attendance form
  • Employee quiz
  • Training certificate
Click here to learn more

Prevent Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - Video DVD and E-Learning program on preventing sexual harassment in the workplace
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