Ridout Barron


Sexual harassment still a prevalent issue

It has been 30 years since the United States government ruled against sexual harassment in the workplace, and it is comforting to think that society has progressed toward safer workplaces in the intervening decades. Unfortunately, Calgary residents who have seen headlines detailing accusations leveled against high-ranking officials of companies like Uber and Fox are aware that harassment has not gone away. While public acceptance of this behaviour has waned, the behaviour itself persists to this day. 

Psychologists and other professionals have pointed out society's consistent shock when high-profile accusations are announced and news of aggressive behaviour is called out, which they say is part of the reason why harassment remains such a problem today. It is tempting to believe that governmental regulations cut down on harassment in the workplace, but the numbers say otherwise. Some believe such regulations have only served to deepen the secrecy surrounding harassment. 

Harassment is widely believed to be at its worst when employees tolerate it. Of course, some people have little choice, as harassment is often predicated by a person in a position of authority, and to stand against it could jeopardize their employment. However, experts tend to agree that the more this behaviour is called out by victims and brought into the scrutiny of society at large, the less it will occur. 

This is why it is so important for Calgary residents who feel they are being victimized in their workplaces due to harassment to speak out. Seeking the support of employment attorneys is often a good place to start if the workplace itself fails to handle allegations of this kind. By forcing harassers to face the judgment of the law and their peers, victims can wrest back control and help to make workplace harassment a thing of the past. 

Source: The Toronto Star, "Sexual harassment headlines spotlight lack of change", Adam Geller, April 8, 2017

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