The employee at the heart of the controversy says she was aware
of the industry's reputation when she accepted the job. "I
just thought this came with the job and it was something I just had
to overcome," she reports.
In Ontario, sexual harassment in the workplace is governed by
the Human Rights Code. In addition to
guaranteeing freedom from discrimination, the Code
explicitly guarantees employees to freedom from sexual harassment
in the workplace. The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario has
determined that this protection extends to the interview process, as well as to work-related
conduct that occurs outside of the workplace.
The cost to employers who fail to enforce the protections
guaranteed by the Code can be steep. Just last month, the
Human Rights Tribunal of Ontarioawarded $150,000.00 to a female employee who
had been the subject of harassment and sexual solicitation by her
The bottom line is that all employees, in all industries, are
entitled to a respectful workplace and employers have a major role
to play in making that happen. Employers need to understand what
they can (and must) do to prevent harassment.
This article was written with the assistance of Erika
Anschuetz , summer student.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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