What can I do if I'm being harassed at work?

Harassment can be verbal, physical, or sexual. You can tell the person to stop, speak to your supervisor, or contact the Ministry of Labour.

What is harassment?

There are different forms of harassment:

  • Sexual harassment: unwanted sexual acts, including saying something that makes you uncomfortable, staring, whistling, or unwanted touching
  • Verbal abuse: saying things that make you feel bad about yourself, or saying something discriminatory, racist, homophobic, transphobic, etc.
  • Physical abuse: pushing, grabbing, shoving or hitting, hair pulling, scratching, tearing clothes, destroying someone's possessions and any other violent type of force

What are my rights?

Your rights are based on the Ontario Human Rights Code. The code says it is illegal to discriminate against you based on your:

  • Race or cultural background
  • Where you were born 
  • Skin colour
  • Religion
  • Gender or gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Mental or physical disability

What should I do if I’m being harassed at work?

Harassment can happen anytime there is an unbalanced distribution of power, or one person is more powerful than another. It can also happen to you by someone who is equally as powerful as you at work (like a co-worker).

If you are being harassed at work, tell the person who is harassing you to stop. If that doesn’t work, tell an adult you trust, like a teacher or supervisor. If your supervisor does not take care of the issue, you can contact the Ontario Human Rights Commission

Where can I go if there is conflict at work?

If there is conflict at work, or if you are experiencing harassment or racism, you should bring it up with your supervisor first, even if the conflict is with your supervisor.

If your employer is not respecting the Code, or is not responding to your concerns, you can speak with someone at the Ministry of Labour. There you can find nformation about filing a claim. There is no cost to filing a claim and an employer cannot punish you for filing one.

Other places you can contact to discuss your problem are the Kids Help Phone and the Young Workers Support Hotline: 1 (866) SAFE-JOB