Sexual harassment in the workplace is an all too common occurrence in Saskatchewan. The Department of Justice Canada recognizes that workplace sexual harassment is both prevalent and a destructive force that takes a toll on individuals, places of employment and society generally. The Public Legal Education Association of Saskatchewan (PLEA) applied for and received funding from Justice Canada for The Shift Project to help address this issue by providing people with detailed plain-language legal information about their options and creating a referral service that provides free legal advice to people who have experienced workplace sexual harassment.
While sexual harassment in its more egregious forms may be readily identified, more subtle forms of workplace sexual harassment can also erode an individual’s wellbeing and corrupt workplace culture. It may be hard for workers to determine if something they have experienced is workplace sexual harassment. Often behaviour that is sexual harassment is dismissed as just part of the job, especially in workplaces where sexual harassment is common. If individuals are unsure about whether they have been sexually harassed there is both information about what workplace sexual harassment looks like and referrals to private bar lawyers available through The Shift Project.
The Shift site includes a concise explanation of the elements of sexual harassment, as well as explaining factors that are commonly used to wrongly excuse workplace sexual harassment – such as the harassment being intended as a joke, a previous consensual relationship between the parties, or the victim not speaking up at the time. Plain-language information about dealing with workplace sexual harassment, possible remedies and the steps to pursue a complaint are also included. Information for both unionized and non-unionized workplaces is also provided. In addition, anyone who has experienced workplace sexual harassment can be referred to a private bar lawyer for up to 4 hours of legal advice to help them sort through the sometimes confusing and overlapping options available.
PLEA is pleased to be able to partner with the Enough Already project. The projects, while distinct, both focus on this issue and together provide a comprehensive approach to this issue province-wide. Enough Already is a coalition committed to putting an end to workplace sexual harassment through education, support and empowerment. The Enough Already campaign offers free workshops and educational resources to workplaces across the province about preventing and addressing workplace sexual harassment, as well as access to free employment coaching for individuals dealing with workplace sexual harassment.