Is it Sexual Harassment
It doesn’t have to be explicitly sexual in nature to constitute sexual harassment, and includes unwelcome comments about gender identity, appearance, gender stereotypes, unwelcome date requests, teasing and more. To be considered sexual harassment the law usually, though not always, requires a series of events or comments, rather than one incident.
You have the right to be free from sexual harassment. Both the Human Rights Code of Ontario and the Occupational Health and Safety Act prohibit workplace harassment.
You have a few options about what you can do if you are experiencing sexual harassment at work. First and foremost, support is key and I would encourage you to reach out to your local sexual assault centre, all of whom have 24-hour phone lines. In addition, you may wish to make a complaint to your local Ministry of Labour office and you could make a claim to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. It is always a good idea to start by speaking with a human rights lawyer to get advice on possible avenues and ways forward. If you are feeling unsafe, you may wish to contact the police as well.
Remember, you have the right to be free from harassment and violence and there are tools as well as people out there to help.