Employees in unionized workplaces can chose to deal with workplace sexual harassment without going through the union in some cases.
The rule that disputes concerning the collective agreement must ultimately go to arbitration, unless they are otherwise settled, does not apply if there has been a violation of occupational health and safety laws. Employees always have the right to make a complaint under these laws and Occupational Health Officers can always investigate and take action.
However, if you are on strike you cannot make an occupational health and safety complaint about something that happened on the picket line. To make these types of claims you must be working for your employer and employees who are on strike are not working for their employer and are not paid by their employer. In these cases employees usually receive strike pay from their union.
An employee in a unionized workplace can sue someone, including their employer, but not for anything that is related to the collective agreement. For example, they cannot sue for wrongful dismissal. They also could not sue for something like not providing a safe workplace if the collective agreement explicitly or implicitly imposes this obligation on the employer.
In all workplaces employees cannot sue for an injury that is covered by Workers’ Compensation.
If a crime has been committed it can always be reported to the police. The police can investigate and lay charges if they believe a crime has been committed.
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.