DEFINING HARASSMENT, SEXUAL AND OTHER

There is a commonly held mistaken belief that there is a law against harassing employees.  In fact, there really is no such law.  It is almost astounding how often I hear of situations in which employees are accusing their employer of harassment.  The term harassment is used as if the very utterance of the phrase should make employers quake in their boots.  The phrase is spoken as if harassment is a legal concept recognized by all courts and leading to dire consequences for the perpetrator.  None of this is the case.  The only legal context in which harassment has any meaning is the Ontario Human Rights Code.  It prohibits sexual harassment and harassment generally on the basis of one’s age, colour, creed, etc.  If you are being harassed as a result of one of those factors, there are indeed legal consequences for that behaviour.