Harassment in the workplace can take on various characteristics. It could in the form of a derogatory comment made in your presence, but not directly to you. It might be an off-colour joke, or a change in workplace policies, you feel are directed specifically towards you and violates one or more of your legally protected characteristics, including, but not limited to race, disability, sexual orientation, age, or sex.
The first thing you need to remember is you have rights and freedoms, whether you are a Canadian citizen or are employed through a work-visa programme. Unfortunately, the balance of power between employers and employees often falls in favour of the employer. Your employer sets your working hours, the location where you work, and other such aspects. As a result, some employers feel they are empowered and have power over you, regardless of your rights and could engage in questionable conduct that is against the law.
In addition, most employees are fearful for their jobs and taking action when they are being harassed in the workplace. They rely upon their income to support their family and pay their bills. If they were to walk away from their job, it would create further distress and financial concerns, so rather than risk their job, they allow the harassment to continue.
Under the law, there are specific steps and procedures you must follow, like making your employer aware you are being harassed. If you do not do this, and simply quit your job, it makes it more difficult to prove harassment and take action against your employer.
Further, you should document each occurrence where you feel you are being harassed. Record what happened, when it occurred, where it occurred, who was present, and who was engaging in the harassing behaviour. This information will help you recall specific events and have a better memory once you report the harassment.
It is worth noting there are specific steps you must follow, as well as statues of limitations for filing harassment against your employer. Depending on the type of harassment, you might need to file a complaint with your Human Resources department before you are allowed to take further action. Additionally, you can file a formal complaint through the Human Right Tribunal of Ontario and the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
If you are not sure how to proceed or what actions to take, it never hurts to seek advice from an experienced Toronto harassment law firm. Your employment lawyer will explain what you need to do, answer your questions, and provide you with expert legal advice on how to proceed, and when to take action through the courts.
Contact De Bousquet PC today: (416) 616-5628 to schedule a consultation appointment with a harassment lawyer. We are the leading experts in harassment law and our track record speaks for itself.