Workplace harassment is engaging in a course of vexatious comments or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Harassment is an umbrella term that also includes sexual harassment, discriminatory harassment, and bullying. Let’s break those down. Tap each button to learn more.
Sexual harassment is harassment because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. When a person who can grant or deny some type of benefit to a worker or discipline an employee makes a sexual advance, it is also sexual harassment. For example, the implied threat of punishment for refusing a sexual advance is sexual harassment.
Discriminatory harassment includes harassing behaviour that involves or can be connected to a person’s characteristics which are protected by human rights legislation. This could include age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability, to name a few. For example, making jokes about a person’s age, personal appearance, or weight is discriminatory harassment.
Bullying is defined as targeted behaviour against an individual with the objective to demean and disempower. Bullying can take on many forms, including cyberbullying where the behaviour is perpetrated through electronic means such as email, text, or social media platforms. Bullying can be obvious or subtle, and often involves a pattern of repeated behaviours. For example, criticizing, belittling, yelling at, or using profanity toward a person repeatedly over time are all examples of bullying.
It is possible for a behaviour to fall under more that one type of harassment. For example, repeated remarks about a person’s sexual orientation could be considered sexual harassment, discriminatory harassment, and bullying.