Harassment IntroCKSS


Craig Kielburger Secondary School

Co-operative Education

: Harassment in the WORKPLACE

When people first think of harassment, they think of sexual harassment. But harassment can be more than that. Harassment is really any unwelcome behavior, usually repeated, that denies an individual dignity and respect. Harassment is offensive, and often embarrassing or humiliating. A person can be harassed about physical appearance or body, clothing, age, marital or relationship status, ethnic or national origin, cultural background or religion. In fact, harassment can be broken into two categories:

Personal harassment—racial comments, ethnic slurs, comments about religion, physical capabilities, physical characteristics or age

Sexual harassment—any act, gesture, comment, or contact of a sexual nature that offends or humiliates a person and that is perceived to be a condition of employment, opportunity for promotion, or for getting needed goods or services


 Uninvited and unwelcome remarks, jokes, teasing, innuendoes

Verbal abuse or threats

Displaying offensive material such as pornographic or racial materials or pictures

Practical jokes that cause awkwardness or embarrassment

 Unwelcome invitations or requests that cause intimidation or fear such as obscene telephone calls, messages or e-mail

Unwelcome/undesired/unnecessary physical touching such as patting, punching,

 Physical assault

Harassment is a form of discrimination prohibited by law. There are both provincial and federal laws that deal with harassment. These can be found in provincial Hyman Rights Codes and the Canadian Human Rights Act.

As well, some employers have policies on harassment. It is always smart to know about your employer’s policy.


Here are some clues:

If you have to do something or tolerate an unwelcome behaviour to keep your job

If you have to do something or tolerate an unwelcome behaviour to maintain the conditions of your job; for example, if your hours of work are lessened or changed to less desirable ones because you won’t submit to the pressure of a harassing behavior

If it interferes with your job performance—if you are stressed and pressured at work

 If it humiliates or insults you

Harassment can be physical or verbal; it can be really obvious or more subtle. It can be the behavior of either gender. And the harasser could be a supervisor, a co-worker, a customer or a supplier.


Take some action:

Tell the harasser to stop the action, gesture, comment or innuendo

 Keep a written record of the incidents of harassment—the times, dates, location, situation and witnesses, if there are any. Record and describe the harassing actions.

Go to your manager or supervisor. If that person is the harasser, then go to the next level of supervisor/manager. You can also go to your human resources representative or union rep.

 If none of this is available or works, then go to the Human Rights Commission or Agency.

When you act to stop being harassed in an employment situation, it is illegal for there to be retaliation. And harassment, on the job or in your personal life, often ends only when you are prepared to take some action.


The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects job applicants and employees from discrimination. As well, the

Canadian Human Rights Act extends the laws in Canada that forbid discrimination:

“For all purposes of this Act, race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted are prohibited grounds of discrimination.”

****ASSIGNMENT Activity

Send your teacher an EDMODO post to respond to these two questions.


What forms of discrimination might a person experience in getting a job? List three possibilities.


In the Co-op world, you will likely be on your own and the youngest worker on site. You have to be vigilant by keeping your Co-op teacher abreast with any concerns you have. It is imperitave you use one of your communication modes(top 5’s, email, phone message, drop in to see your Co-op teacher to address your concerns, direct Edmodo post. What would be your best mode to use? Why?