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Reprisals & Retaliation

If you make a workplace harassment complaint your employer must take steps to prevent the alleged harasser, or others, from taking action against you because you made a complaint. Employers themselves are also required to not take any action against a worker because they made a complaint.

Employers in federally regulated workplaces cannot dismiss, suspend, lay off, demote, penalize or take any disciplinary action against an employee for exercising their rights regarding workplace harassment. They also cannot threaten to do any of these things. If an employer has done any of these things, a complaint can be made to the Canada Industrial Relations Board.

The Saskatchewan Employment Act includes protections for workers that bring concerns about harassment forward. These protections apply to both workers that have been harassed and witnesses to the harassment. This is an important aspect of preventing workplace harassment.

Employers and supervisors need to take steps to protect workers who have made harassment complaints or witnessed harassment from retaliation by the alleged harasser or others. This can include taking actions before the investigation is complete, such as…

  • informing the alleged harasser about the types of behaviour that will not be tolerated
  • moving the alleged harasser or the complainant, with their permission, to another work unit
  • suspending the alleged harasser with pay while the matter is being investigated

Workers are also protected from discriminatory action by their employer in response to making a complaint or otherwise seeking to have the Act enforced. Witnesses who have come forward are also protected. Discriminatory action could include things like a demotion, suspension or warning. Workers who have concerns about discriminatory actions can contact the Harassment & Discriminatory Prevention Unit of the Occupational Health and Safety Division. Employers can be ordered to stop the discriminatory action, reinstate and compensate a worker for lost wages, and remove any negative references on their employment record.

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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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