Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
In British Columbia, there are laws that protect and promote human rights, including in the workplace. The Occupational Health and Safety Regulation (OHSR) addresses workplace bullying and harassment. In addition, the B.C. Human Rights Code provides protection against discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment.
What is sexual harassment?
The B.C. Human Rights Code states that every person has the right to be free from sexual harassment in their workplace. Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which can occur inside or outside of the workplace. In either case, the repercussions can be severe. Inside the workplace, harassment can interfere with an employee’s job performance, relationship with colleagues, and the overall work environment.
When bullying, harassment, or violence occur in any form, it is your employer responsibility to take the complaint seriously and deal with the issue right away.
As an employer, you have a duty to protect your employees. You are responsible for their health, safety and well-being in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to have proper workplace policies and procedures in place to address incidents. Employers are required to do the following:
- Develop a sexual harassment and violence policy in writing;
- Maintain a violence and harassment prevention plan;
- Provide orientation and refresher training to all staff;
- Immediately investigate any employee complaints of harassment or discrimination in the workplace; and
- Take appropriate actions to ensure safety at work, such as providing treatment options for any person harmed by violence or harassment.
Are you dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace?
Harassment and incidents of discrimination are difficult situations to deal with as an employer. That’s why Employer Line helps small businesses with employment and HR advice. Call our employer advice line today: 1(833) 200-5103.