Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace

What is Harassment? (as found on the Government of Saskatchewan’s website)

There are two types of harassment covered under The Saskatchewan Employment Act:

  1. harassment based on prohibited grounds; and

  2. personal harassment.

Harassment based on prohibited grounds

Harassment based on prohibited grounds includes any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person that:

  • is made on the basis of race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin; and

  • constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the worker.

This type of harassment also extends to sexual harassment which is conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature that is offensive, unsolicited or unwelcome.  It can include:

  • a direct or implied threat of reprisal for refusing to comply with a sexually-oriented request;

  • unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, propositions or taunting about a person’s body, attire, sex or sexual orientation;

  • displaying pornographic or sexually explicit pictures or materials;

  • unwelcome physical contact;

  • unwelcome invitations or requests, direct or indirect, to engage in behaviour of a sexual nature; or

  • refusing to work with or have contact with workers because of their sex, gender or sexual orientation.

Certain types of conduct not specifically directed at an individual, such as displaying a poster or making comments that are overheard by another worker, can be considered harassment based on prohibited grounds.

Personal Harassment

Personal harassment is sometimes referred to as bullying.  It includes any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person that:

  • adversely affects a worker’s psychological or physical well-being;

  • the perpetrator knows, or should know, would cause the worker to be humiliated or intimidated; and

  • constitutes a threat to the health and safety of a worker.

Typically, personal harassment involves repeat occurrences.  A single incident may also constitute personal harassment if serious or severe and is shown to have a lasting harmful effect on a worker.

Personal harassment may include:

  • verbal or written abuse or threats;

  • insulting, derogatory or degrading comments, jokes or gestures;

  • personal ridicule or malicious gossip;

  • malicious or unjustifiable interference with another’s work;

  • work sabotage;

  • refusing to work or co-operate with others; or

  • interference with, or vandalism of personal property.

All incidents of inappropriate conduct should be appropriately addressed to ensure the workplace remains respectful and harassment free.

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