Going to Civil Court

Civil Court: Options

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your harasser on the grounds of assault and/or battery. You may also be able to file a lawsuit against your employer on the grounds of wrongful/constructive dismissal or negligence, depending on the circumstances. Starting a lawsuit can be a very expensive and lengthy procedure that is not easy to navigate on your own. You do not have to be represented by a lawyer in civil court. However, this process can be very complicated, and you may wish to seek legal advice.

Compensation from a civil suit is called damages which is the sum of money the law imposes for a breach of a duty or violation of a right. Types of damages include:

  • Aggravated Damages – damages awarded to compensate for harm suffered beyond financial loss such as anxiety, humiliation, or loss of reputation
  • Compensatory Damages – damages awarded to compensate for specific harm suffered such as lost wages or injury
  • Punitive Damages – damages awarded to punish a wrongdoer; money ordered by the court to deter the wrongdoer from engaging in unlawful behaviour
  • Nominal Damages – damages assessed by the court to recognize a legal wrong has been committed, typically a small amount

In civil court, judges will hear and review all evidence and make decision based on what they see to be the best remedy.  They can order any combination of the above kinds of damages.

Share this page

If you require legal advice or are concerned about a workplace sexual harassment situation, please call a lawyer. 

workplace sexual harassment

Be Aware

All employees, volunteers, students, etc. should be aware of the existence of a respectful anti-sexual harassment policy and the steps in place for resolving complaints. Employers, businesses and institutions not only have legal duties to provide an environment free of sexual harassment, but ignoring these duties could cause permanent damage to reputation and the bottom line.