Sexual harassment includes offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person’s sex, as well as behaviour of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, or “poisoned” work environment, or something that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a person’s job or employment, housing or service opportunities. A few examples are: questions and discussions about a person's sexual life; persisting in asking for a date after having been refused; writing sexually suggestive letters or notes. Sexual harassment often occurs in workplace situations where there is unequal power between the people involved.
Sexual harassment is prohibited under The Code in the areas of employment, housing and services.
The Code refers to sexual harassment as:
- a series of objectionable and unwelcome sexual invitations or advances; or
- one single sexual initiate or advance by a person in an authority position who should have known it was not welcome by the victim.
- a reprisal, retaliation or a threat of retaliation for rejecting a sexual solicitation or advance.
The unwanted behaviours may be physical or verbal and may include one of more of the following:
- unnecessary physical contact, such as touching, patting or pinching
- demands for sexual favours in return for a promise of a reward or a threat of reprisal
- unwelcome sexual remarks or jokes that put down one’s gender
- displaying insulting materials such as pictures, cartoons or printed matter
What is not sexual harassment?
Consensual banter or romantic relationships, where the people involved consent to what is happening, is not sexual harassment.