What were the results of the public consultations?

During the fall of 2019, the Project partners engaged in a public consultation process to gather insight and information from the Community of Practice with respect to the issue of workplace sexual harassment.

Here you will find a summary of the outcomes of these public consultations, presented in three categories: (1) barriers and challenges, (2) immature policies and responses, and (3) training and resource needs.

Power Dynamics and Fear

  • Harassers are often in a position of power over the targeted person (manager/employee, instructor/student, tenured/new employees) or bound by historical or societal norms relating to power (sex, gender expression, race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)
  • Fear of not being believed or taken seriously

Discrimination, Lack of Understanding and Culture of Tolerance

  • Lack of education and understanding, stigma, and intolerance with respect to sex, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation leads to assumptions, microaggressions, inappropriate sexualized comments and questions
  • Intersectionality – for LGBTQ2S+ members, workplace sexual harassment is typically not the first or only form of harassment they have faced; many are hesitant to “rock the boat” and face further negative consequences
  • Overt forms of traditional WSH have largely been replaced with “microaggressions” – hostile, derogatory and negative slights and insults
  • Leaders/managers who engage in and/or condone inappropriate workplace behaviour send a clear message that the behaviour is not taken seriously
  • Bias – there is a perceived bias on the part of those responsible for handling internal complaints, as they are employed by the same organization
  • Lack of confidentiality in internal complaint processes
  • Existing policies are binary in nature (male/female) – they fail to explain “sexist” and “sexualized” conduct
  • Reporting processes are unclear
  • Persons experiencing harassment lack support (counselling/advice)
  • Lack of Autonomy and Poor Communication – targets have little control over the process and receive little communication once allegations are raised

Workers and workplaces need training in:

  • Workplace sexual harassment sensitivity and awareness
  • Bystander training
  • Trauma-informed practice
  • Leadership
  • Investigation

Employers and workplaces need resources such as:

  • Harassment Policy
  • Communication Protocol
  • Flow Chart for Complaints
  • Resource Map