• OHRC Issues Statement on Sexual Harassment
  • February 12, 2015
  • Law Firm: Blaney McMurtry LLP - Toronto Office
  • Perhaps not surprisingly given all the media attention on the issue of sexual harassment in recent months, the Ontario Human Rights Commission recently issued a statement regarding sexual harassment and Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

    The Commission reiterates that employers have a legal duty to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in the workplace. The Commission states that employers can prevent many cases of sexual harassment by:

    • Having a clear, comprehensive anti-sexual harassment policy in place;
    • Ensuring all employees have the policy and are aware of both their rights and their responsibility not to engage in harassment; and
    • Training individuals in positions of responsibility on the policy and their related human rights obligations.
    The Commission’s statement also sets out a non-exhaustive list of factors human rights tribunals will look at in cases involving allegations of sexual harassment. These include:

    • The procedures in place at the time to deal with discrimination and harassment;
    • How quickly the organization responded to the complaint;
    • How seriously the complaint was treated;
    • The resources made available to deal with the complaint;
    • If the organization provided a healthy environment for the person who complained; and
    • How well the person who complained was kept informed about the status of the complaint, actions taken, etc.