Over the last few years, with the momentum of the #MeToo movement, there is a growing awareness and acceptance that workplace sexual harassment is a widespread and harmful experience for many people.

We know that sexual harassment disproportionately impacts women. We know too that racialized women, 2SLGBTQ+ people, women with disabilities, and low income women experience workplace sexual harassment at disproportionately high rates. In Nova Scotia, more than one-third of women have faced unwanted sexual behaviour at work, which is about twice as common as for men.

We also know that workplace sexual harassment is significantly underreported. 

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue. It is also against the law. Human Rights Commissions and courts across Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, have declared sexual harassment to be illegal discrimination with serious legal consequences. 

The following legal information is intended for people who have been victims of workplace sexual harassment. The information may also be helpful to friends and colleagues supporting someone who has experienced this kind of harassment, and anyone who wants to better understand their rights in the workplace in Nova Scotia. 

The information will help you understand what the law says and what options are available if you or someone you care about experiences workplace sexual harassment. 

An Important Reminder:

Workplace sexual harassment can be a traumatic experience for a victim, their colleagues, their loved ones, and their community. 

You don’t need to feel shame or blame yourself if you’ve been harmed by sexual harassment.You are not alone, and what happened is not your fault.

Sexual harassment is a form of gendered violence, and it is an expression of power and control. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you may feel powerless, hurt, uncomfortable, vulnerable, unsafe, angry, or confused. 

Whatever you are feeling, your feelings are valid. There is no one correct emotion to feel if you have been harmed by sexual harassment. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are welcome to pause and return to this legal information later. 

If you need to leave quickly, there is a “Hide this site” button that will take you away from this website.

We hope that this information empowers you with tools and knowledge to move through your experience in a way that is right for you. We welcome feedback to help us better understand how this legal information can help you and those you care about. 

Last updated December 2020