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When Workplace Harassment is Discrimination

It is discrimination under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act to harass an individual based on a prohibited ground at work as well as in other situations such as when providing services to the public.

The Canadian Human Rights Act applies to federally regulated workplaces in Saskatchewan and The Saskatchewan Human Rights Act applies to all other workplaces in Saskatchewan. Prohibited grounds of discrimination include race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status and family status.

Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you.

Canadian Human Rights Commission

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Act and the Canadian Human Rights Act do not contain definitions of harassment or sexual harassment but the same types of behaviours that would be harassment or sexual harassment under The Saskatchewan Employment Act or the Canada Labour Code are covered.

Sexual harassment can include comments, behaviour, and unwanted sexual contact. It can take the form of jokes, threats, and discriminatory remarks about someone’s gender or sexuality. It can happen in person or online.

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Under human rights laws, harassment that is discrimination is behaviour that is unwelcome and/or has a negative impact on the person. Under the Canadian Human Rights Code it is behaviour that persists overtime or a single serious incident. Under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Act it can be a series of incidents or a single incident.

Examples of harassment that is discrimination include:

  • A colleague makes fun of your hijab.
  • A manager makes inappropriate comments about your physical appearance.
  • A supervisor rubs your shoulders despite your objections.

Sexual harassment may be verbal, physical or visual. It is always unsolicited and unwelcome behaviour…

Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

While sexual harassment can take place is any setting, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission reports that most sexual harassment occurs in the workplace.

Harassment by a fellow employee and harassment by an employer are both prohibited forms of discrimination under human rights laws. Under The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, employers who know about sexual harassment and do not take steps to stop it can be held responsible for the harassment.

Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees unless:

  • The employer did not consent to the conduct.
  • The employer took all reasonable steps to ensure that this type of conduct did not happen.
  • Once they were aware of the conduct, the employer took steps to limit or avoid the harm caused by the conduct.

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This site provides general information about workplace sexual harassment only. It is not a substitute for receiving legal advice about your situation. Apply now to receive 4 hours of free legal advice.

The Shift Project is funded by the Department of Justice and delivered by the Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA).

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