Ridout Barron


Confronting sexual harassment in the workplace

It is widely understood that hostile work environments are often borne from cases of harassment. This is particularly true for women in Alberta workplaces, who often face gender discrimination and sometimes sexual harassment as well. All employees benefit from gaining an understanding of what constitutes this type of harassment. 

Sexual harassment can take on many forms. In some instances, it can manifest as inappropriate or unsettling comments of a sexual nature. In more extreme cases it can result in unwanted touching, which does not have to be limited to areas of the body commonly associated with sex to be considered sexual in nature. At this point it is considered sexual battery, which may involve criminal charges if a complaint is filed. 

Harassment creates a hostile and uncomfortable work environment for the victim. It can also lead to more serious issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Unfortunately, many victims do not seek support due to fears about making the situation worse or even losing their jobs. However, it is only through confronting these issues and communicating concerns that they can be handled appropriately. 

Although female Alberta workers tend to suffer this form of harassment more frequently than their male colleagues, sexual harassment is not exclusively the province of women. Any employee who feels sexually endangered at work has the right to request support in handling the situation. In some cases, it may be appropriate to retain legal counsel and escalate the complaint to a court of law. In those instances, an attorney experienced in handling employment law litigation may prove invaluable.

Source: asianjournal.com, "Protecting employees from sexual harassment at work", C. Joe Sayas, Jr., Feb. 11, 2017

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Ridout Barron
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