In recent years, we are hearing and seeing more stories about workplace harassment in the news. Workplace harassment is an unfortunately common phenomenon which has always existed but has only recently been named and recognized. With this recognition has come developments in Canadian employment legislation, which provides specific protection against workplace harassment for employees.
Despite the increase in worker protections, many employees remain unaware of their rights. This renders legal protections against workplace harassment powerless, since those protections are almost all complaint based. To meaningfully combat workplace harassment, more employees need to learn about their rights.
The first step is to know how to identify workplace harassment. But that concept is frequently and significantly misunderstood by the general public. As a result, employees are often left to deal with interpersonal issues on their own, not realizing that the issue they’re dealing is workplace harassment – a matter that ought to be addressed by the employer.
Workplace harassment is broadly defined across Canadian jurisdictions, but generally refers to some type of repetitive, offensive conduct that is known to be unwelcome.
Harassment can be written, verbal, non-verbal, direct, or indirect
Workplace harassment may include teasing, innuendos, name-calling, unwanted advances, or bigoted comments. Harassment can occur verbally, in writing, or can even be non-verbal gestures, like staring, gift-giving, or touching. It can be directed towards a person, or can occur indirectly, through gossiping or spreading rumours.
A single instance can constitute harassment
While workplace harassment usually involves ongoing, repeated behaviour, it can also arise from one single incident of inappropriate conduct – like an unwanted sexual advance from a manager.
The harasser can be anyone
Workplace harassment does not only refer to interactions with your colleagues. You may also be a victim of workplace harassment at the hands of your manager, supervisor, CEO, subordinates, customers, clients, or even members of the public. In one famous case, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was found to have failed to protect its employees from workplace harassment on Twitter, which was directed at drivers by members of the public.
Workplace harassment can happen anywhere, at any time
Workplace harassment does not always occur at the office or on the jobsite. It can refer to interactions between after work, off-site, or online (for instance, through social media) if those interactions affect the work environment.
When to seek legal advice
As we have written before, your employer is your first line of defence against workplace harassment. If your employer brushes aside your harassment complaint, conducts a flawed investigation, or punishes you for reporting about workplace harassment, your employment situation may become intolerable. In these circumstances it may be time to consult with an employment lawyer. A lawyer can help you either sue your employer for wrongful dismissal or constructive dismissal or file an unlawful reprisal application under health and safety or human rights legislation.
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A note from our long term disability lawyers
Taking a medical leave from work is not an easy decision to make. Concerns about providing for yourself and your family and keeping your job may cause you to want to push through your pain, but this won’t make your problems go away. Stopping work is often the smartest decision for your long term health and well-being, and your disability benefits are there to provide you with financial support until you can return to work.
If you have made the tough decision to stop working and apply for your short term disability or long term disability benefits, you may feel overwhelmed by the process and have questions that your employer and your insurance company are not able or willing to answer. Share is There to see you through and answer your questions.
Our Disability law firm knows what you have been going through
We understand that things have not been easy for you over the last little while. Your health has been suffering, you are unable to work, and now your insurance company, who was supposed to be there in your time of need, has decided they will not pay your disability benefits or respect your disability claim. These benefits exist to provide you with the financial support you need so that you can focus on your health and rebuilding your life. It is unfortunate that your insurance company has not lived up to its promise. If your disability claim has been denied, we will fight to get you the benefits you are entitled to. Our disability lawyers have helped thousands of Canadians get their long term disability benefits over the past 35 years, and we can help you too.
Our experienced disability lawyers can fight back on your behalf
Share Lawyers believes that every client who is dealing with a disability claim deserves superior personal service. To achieve that goal, we have developed our team of experienced, compassionate, and caring long term disability lawyers, law clerks, and administrative staff to meet all of your needs. Our team of experienced long term disability, life insurance, employment, and critical illness insurance lawyers have made successful claims against many insurance companies, third-party administrators and employers.
If you are unable to work, your disability benefits should be there to provide you with the financial support you need. While your insurance company may be focused on finding ways to avoid paying your claim, our focus is on what is in your best interest. When Share Lawyers gets involved, you have an entire team of lawyers that are there to support you and to fight for what is yours.
Our disability claim lawyers fight for your disability insurance claim by relying on our many years of experience to apply the best strategic planning and approach in each case, using the latest technology available. Experience matters, and with Share Lawyers, you are in the best hands with 35 years of success on your side.
In this video, we explain the role of a long term disability lawyer and how we can support you when you have been denied your long term disability benefits.