My Options

When dealing with sexual harassment there are many different options one can take. It is an entirely personal choice.

  • Do nothing. This is always an option. It’s your choice. Sometimes people feel like it’s not really worth it. (Might not amount to sexual harassment as it doesn’t negatively affect their work)
  • Leave. A common coping mechanism is to leave a negative work environment.
  • Speak up. Let the person know, in a respectful way how their comments or actions affected you and ask them to stop. Don’t blame them or call them names. Sometimes a person is unaware that his or her behaviour is offensive until someone points it out. If the behaviour is an isolated event and might have been unintentional, consider telling the person politely, but firmly, that it bothered you and ask him or her to stop.
  • Tell someone. Talk it out with a friend. Get an ally or someone who can support you at work. Seek informal advice from colleagues, friends or mentors. Seek more formal advice by reaching out to the Law Society’s Equity Ombudsperson, the Lawyers Assistance Program, or HR.
  • Seek help. Sexual Harassment can lead to serious consequences, such as depression, anxiety low work morale, lack of sleep etc. There is nothing to lose by getting help, Lawyers Assistance Program or a counsellor. Speak to an employment lawyer to learn about your rights and what recourse there is for you.
  • Report. You can go through the formal reporting process within your workplace if they have one in place, if you are unsure ask the Human Resources department. You can also make a formal complaint through the law society of BC. A good first step for this would be to talk to the Law Society’s Equity Ombudsperson.

The number one myth to dispel is reporting is not career suicide.  Lawyers have a professional obligation not to engage in sexual harassment, or other forms of discrimination, as set out in Chapter 2 of the Professional Conduct Handbook