Sexual Harassment Lawyers in Calgary, AB Protecting Your Rights
Sexual harassment and sexual assault are the most common form of workplace harassment. These reports appear in significant numbers, and those reported have allegations that it had happened numerous times.
Employment law considers sexual harassment and sexual assault some of the most horrendous forms of workplace transgressions due to their frequency and nature.
What is Considered Sexual Harassment?
The Supreme Court of Canada defines sexual harassment as “when one employee or employer engages in a vexatious, lurid, or overly personal comment or conduct that has been stated as unwelcome or reasonably considered unwelcome by another person or against their consent in the workplace.”
The following is a non-exhaustive list of behaviors collected by employment lawyers that employment law recognizes as constituting sexual harassment:
- Reprisal: threats of penalization, punishment, or sexual assault, against a person who does not respond to sexual advances or contact
- Personal space invasion or non-consensual contact
- Demanding hugs, kisses, or other unwanted contacts
- Acting paternally toward a person and undermining their status or position
- Requiring specific dress of an employee in a gender-specific or sexualized way
- Leering or staring inappropriately
- Demanding sexual favors or putting another person in a situation where sexual favors may be requested or implied
- Conduct against a person’s perceived gender non-conformity
- Verbal abuse, threats, or taunting relating to a person’s gender, sex, or sexual identity
- Jokes of a sexual or inappropriate nature
- Pornographic materials near other employees
- Suggestive language or humor of an inappropriate nature
If I am Being Sexually Harassed or Have Been the Victim of Sexual Assault, What are My Options?
Several things are in place within Canadian law to protect individuals in the workplace from experiencing discrimination, contact, harassment, or assault of a sexual nature. Employment lawyers are well-versed in the criminal charges an individual could face if accused of such.
If you experience sexual harassment, follow these steps:
- Call the Police:
- Do not wait until challenging times, when someone may push past mere contact and risk your safety or sanctity. If you feel threatened, contact the proper authorities.
- Record Each Instance:
- Any time you experience discrimination, assault, or anything in between, write it down in as much detail as possible. Your employment lawyers can draw a better argument with these details.
- Tell Them to Stop:
- It is helpful to have written communication so that your lawyers can see when you have communicated your wishes to your harasser.
- Report to your Employers:
- If your employers have a designated person or department, report your harasser. If not, choose a supervisor if they are not the person committing the acts.
Each instance of workplace sexual harassment is different. There is no “right” way to respond to the situation. That is why the Alberta Human Rights Commission has made itself a contactable organization if you are not comfortable complaining to someone within your workplace.
Correctly reporting the harassment is not guaranteed to stop it but can help your case if the situation elevates to a court of law. Lawyers use every detail like this to back up your claim against your harasser.
You can reach the Alberta Human Rights Commission at the following numbers:
- Confidential Inquiry Line: 780-427-7661
- Toll-free within Alberta: 310-000, followed by the area code and phone number
- TTY service for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing: 1-800-232-7215
What If I Was Falsely Accused of Sexual Harassment?
- Cooperate With the Investigation
- If you feel innocent of the accusations, your instinct may be to push back or try to stop the investigation. An investigation will continue with or without you, so you want to cooperate with your witnesses and testimonies.
- Confess What You Did Wrong
- Lying about things that you DID do, even if it were not the issue you were being accused of, would hurt any case you have.
- Apologize, Even if You Feel You Are Innocent
- You don’t get to dictate what actions, jokes, or images another person finds offensive. This may be a situation where your intent was not to harm you, but you caused it anyway. Apologize to the offended person.
- Hire a Lawyer
- This step is not always necessary. But if you feel you are innocent, and the offended party is pushing for litigation: hire a lawyer to represent your case.
How a Lawyer Can Help Your Case Establish Itself Beyond Reasonable Doubt
Workplace harassment is similar to domestic assault, domestic violence, or any legal issue experienced between yourself and a family member. This is why it is essential to involve a third party as soon as possible. Sexual harassment lawyers, many of whom will have many existing clients who have been through the things you are experiencing, can be a source of external help for your situation.
At Getz Collins and Associates, we have a team of lawyers who will be happy to assess your situation, explain harassment law, walk you through all of your available options, and work with you to put a stop to your harassment. For a consultation, call 403-934-2500 as soon as you are able.