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Employment Law: Employees > Harassment And Hostile Work Environment

No matter what your job is, you have the right to work in an environment that is free of harassment and violence. A number of pieces of legislation guarantee this right, including the Human Rights Code and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

For example, you have the right to be free of discrimination and harassment from your employer or any agent of your employer because of race, ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation and a number of other personal characteristics.

You also have the right to go through dispute resolution whenever those rights are not respected, and even to get compensation if appropriate, especially if you feel forced to resign because of a hostile work environment.

What Does This Mean?

You have a right to be free of:

  • Harassment: This includes comments or behaviour that is known — or should be known — to be unwelcome, distressing, agitating or demeaning.
  • Violence: This does not just mean being badly physically hurt, but any kind of violence.
  • Sexual harassment: This covers all sorts of behaviour, including repeatedly asking for dates without taking no for an answer, unwanted physical contact, sex-related comments, sexual jokes, and rude or insulting language.

If you have experienced violence or harassment in the workplace, it is important to keep detailed records of it and report it.

Workplaces are required to have a plan in place to deal with any kind of harassment and violence, to take allegations seriously and to not discipline you for complaining about harassment.

If your complaints have been ignored or you have been disciplined for trying to deal with harassment, speaking to an employment lawyer is your best option.

We will help you understand your rights and help you figure out what to do next. Even if you have quit, you may be able to get severance pay and other compensation, as your resignation may be seen as constructive dismissal.

Contact Vice & Hunter LLP

Let us help you stand up for your right to work in an environment that is not hostile to you. Call us at 613-701-0898 or 866-252-0670 toll-free or fill out our online form below if you have suffered from harassment, sexual harassment or violence at work in Ottawa or anywhere in the Ottawa Valley.