by Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS)
Free legal advice is available to anyone who has experienced workplace sexual harassment from the SHARP Workplaces legal clinic.
What is sexual harassment in the workplace?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is an unfortunate reality for many British Colombians, yet studies have shown it still goes under-reported. In fact, a 2017 study of Canadian working women showed that more than half of them had experienced sexual harassment during their careers, but only about a quarter complained or reported the issue. As a country that seems to pride itself in striving to gender equality, this is a disheartening figure.
One barrier to reporting may be that many British Colombians are not sure what workplace sexual harassment is. The Supreme Court of Canada has defined sexual harassment as;
“unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of the harassment.”
It can happen in any type of workplace, and includes a range of behaviors that abuse power and may make the recipient feel unsafe in their place of work.
How can SHARP Workplaces help me?
While recent social movements have created awareness of unacceptable behaviors, there is still a gap in service for workers to access advice, education, and proper information to address sexual harassment if it should happen to them. This is especially important for marginalized groups, such as Indigenous people, LGBTQ2S+, ethnic and cultural minorities, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable groups in society.
The new partnership between the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) and the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVABC) aims to fill that gap, by creating SHARP Workplaces, funded by the Department of Justice Canada. This program offers a free legal service offering up to 5 hours of free confidential legal advice and is available to anyone in BC who has a complaint regarding workplace sexual harassment in BC. By providing legal advice, SHARP Workplaces wants to ensure that workers know their rights and have the appropriate support to take whatever avenue they feel is best. SHARP Workplaces will also provide free education and training to small businesses, non-profits and Indigenous organizations.
How do I access the service?
People who experience sexual harassment can access the SHARP Workplaces legal advice service by calling: 604-673-3143 or toll-free: 1-888-685-6222, emailing SHARPWorkplaces@clasbc.net or by going to clasbc.net.
Find it on Clicklaw: https://www.clicklaw.bc.ca/helpmap/service/1307
For referrals to support services after 5 p.m., please call VictimLinkBC: 1-800-563-0808.
Education and training workshops can be requested from Ending Violence Association of BC by calling: 604-682-8820, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I help the people in my community. What can SHARP Workplaces do for me?
Intermediaries are encouraged to reach out to SHARP Workplaces if they would like to request a presentation for their organization to learn more about our legal advice service, education and training services and about workplace sexual harassment. Advocates who may be supporting clients with their workplace sexual harassment claims may also contact SHARP Workplaces for advice.
The Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS) is a non-profit society providing legal assistance, information and education in BC, and works to advance the law to address the critical needs of those who are disadvantaged or face discrimination. For further information, please see: www.clasbc.net
About EVA BC
The Ending Violence Association of British Columbia (EVA BC) works to coordinate and support the work of victim-serving and other anti-violence programs in British Columbia through the provision of issue-based consultation and analysis, resource development, training, research and education. Our work is guided by respect for difference, human dignity and equality. https://endingviolence.org/