A printable PDF version of this information sheet is available. Sexual harassment is a form of discrimination based on the ground of gender, including transgender, which is prohibited under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Sexual harassment is usually an attempt by one person to exert power over another person. It can be perpetrated by a supervisor, a co-worker, a landlord or a service provider.
Sexual harassment is unwanted, often coercive, sexual behaviour directed by one person toward another. It is emotionally abusive and creates an unhealthy, unproductive atmosphere in the workplace.
Employees, customers or clients can make sexual harassment complaints to the Alberta Human Rights Commission. The What constitute sexual harrassment Court of Canada has decided that in cases of proven sexual harassment, employers are responsible for the actions of their employees. In Alberta, employers are responsible for maintaining a work environment free from sexual harassment for all employees, customers and clients.
Having an effective sexual harassment policy in place can decrease an employer's liability if a human rights complaint is made.
Prompt and appropriate action on sexual harassment complaints can reduce an employer's liability still further. Please contact the Commission for more information about these services. Also see the Commission information sheet Sample Harassment Prevention Policyor by calling the Commission for a print version. Employees who are harassed may also wish to contact their union or employee association. A complaint must be made within one year of the alleged incident or the Commission does not have the authority to accept the complaint.
A person may have a sense of being a woman, a man, both, or neither. Gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation, What constitute sexual harrassment is also protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act.
Gender expression refers to the varied ways in which a person expresses their gender, which can include a combination of dress, demeanour, social behaviour and other factors.
A complaint must be made to the Alberta Human Rights Commission within one year after the alleged incident of discrimination. The one-year period starts the day after the date on which the incident occurred.
For help calculating the one-year period, contact the Commission. Due to confidentiality concerns, the Commission cannot reply to complaints of discrimination by What constitute sexual harrassment. Please contact the Commission by phone or regular mail if you have a specific complaint.