Saskatchewan people have a right to health and safe work environments free from harassment. Under The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 employers are required to take reasonable steps to prevent and stop harassment that arises our of or is connected to a worker's employment. Click LINK to view the Saskatchewan Government Harassment Guide.
Harassment includes any inappropriate conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures made by a person that are made on the basis of race, creed, religion, color, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry, or place or origin. Personal harassment (bullying) includes inappropriate conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures by a person that adversely affects a workers psychological or physical well being.
Personal harassment usually involved repeat occurrences. A single incident can also be considered personal harassment if it is severe enough and has lasting harmful effects on a worker. Some examples may include:
- Verbal or written abuse or threats
- Insulting, derogatory or degrading comments, jokes or gestures
- Personal ridicule or malicious gossip
- Malicious interference with another’s work or “work sabotage”
- Refusing to work or co-operate with others
- Interference with, or vandalism of, personal property.
All people have a right to a healthy and safe work environment that is free from harassment. Harassment is prohibited in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act and the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. Under part 3 of The Saskatchewan Employment Act, Employers are required to prevent and stop any harassment that arises with their employees.
Employers have two main responsibilities with regards to prevention of harassment in the workplace:
- Develop and implement a written harassment policy. LINK TO SAMPLE POLICY
- Ensure employees are not exposed to harassment as much as reasonably possible both in and outside of the work place.
The following are good management practices that can help to create a harassment free workplace:
- Provide clear directions with regards to roles, tasks, and expectations to avoid misunderstandings
- Demonstrate leadership in conflict management
- Provide opportunities for open communication
- Promote co-operation
- Train supervisors and employees in how to demonstrate respectful conduct, address inappropriate behavior, and handle complaints.
If you believe you are being harassed with regards to your employment, you can contact the OHS Division for assistance. The OHS Division provides information to employees and employers about harassment, and can help in addressing the harassment through the enforcement of the Saskatchewan Employment Act.
Occupational Health and Safety Division – 306-787-4496
Sexual harassment is conduct, comments, gestures or contact of a sexual nature that is offensive, unsolicited or unwelcome.
- Threatening – threatening or offering rewards, promotions, or raises in return for sexual favors where a victim’s job could be in jeopardy he or she does not comply with the request.
- Physical harassment – unwanted touching, including: touching clothing, hair or body, as well as, hugging, kissing, stroking, patting, massaging, standing to close or brushing against the person.
- Verbal harassment – unwanted verbal words, such as; babe, honey, girl or stud, as well as, whistling at someone, sexual talk during work discussions, asking personal sexual questions, commenting on clothing, anatomy or looks, as well as, repeatedly asking for dates and not taking NO for an answer.
- Non-verbal harassment (body language) – suggestive looks, prolonged staring, giving unwanted gifts, winking, or making sexual gestures with the hands or body.
- Environmental harassment – sexually suggestive pictures or objects depicting men or women as sex objects in the work place.
- Tell the person politely, but firmly, that what they are doing bothers you and to stop please
- Talk to someone in authority and discuss what actions can or should be taken
- Write down and document your experiences and keep it in a secure and confidential place with in the office or with trusting staff
- Make a formal complaint to the College of Dental Surgeons, the Saskatchewan Dental Assistants Association or other governing bodies
- Contact the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission to make a human rights complaint
- Contact the RCMP to lay criminal charges if the harassment does not stop