Supporting the #MeToo Movement

1/12/2018 11:19:35 AM


Guest Blogger: Olivia Moore 
Olivia is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in English at Ryerson University. She works with aNd Logistix on a part-time basis and as an in-office and on-site support member. She was thrilled to have an opportunity to be our guest blogger for the month. Enjoy!

 


Many of us have had to deal with unwelcome workplace situations at some point in our lives. There is a slew of factors that can contribute to making a work environment uncomfortable. Unfortunately, some of these factors include much more serious offences that can drive both employers and employees to severe levels of discomfort and feeling threatened while at work.


As of late, a large discussion has developed pertaining to sexual misconduct in the workplace. This led to the aNd team having an open discussion on the subject during one of our morning meetings. Although we have all seen the headlines, it was relieving to have an open discussion concerning sexual harassment so that all employees were assured that our office is a safe environment where these issues can be brought to the attention of management, and that management would protect us and not stand for it. Through discussing different company policies regarding sexual harassment and talking about a few cases that have come to light, the immediate response was the importance of understanding that everyone (staff, attendees and all other parties) have the right to be respected and feel comfortable at work (and of course, in life). There is zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour at aNd. Having this conversation reinforced the bond of our staff as we all agreed and understood why establishing a zero-tolerance policy is such an essential part of ensuring a safe office environment. Although most companies have policies condemning sexual harassment and assault, I found it beneficial to have an open discussion concerning the issue as it helps coworkers to better understand one another. It also reduces the negative stigma surrounding the conversation in addition to encouraging those who have been victims of this kind of treatment to come forward, or know that their workplace puts measures in place in hopes that this never happens on their watch.

 
Overall, everyone wants to feel safe and comfortable within their workplace. Ensuring a positive atmosphere requires issues such as sexual assault and harassment to be addressed openly so that everybody sharing the workplace knows that their voice will be heard. Sexual harassment and assault are extremely serious offences that can have devastating impacts not only on the victim’s life, but also on the integrity of the company. It is our responsibility to ensure that preventative steps are taken to condemn this behaviour and so that the workplace becomes a more enjoyable space for everyone to share.

 

Below are links that help define sexual assault and harassment, and provide options towards the steps that can be taken to prevent this issue, in addition to providing information on how to handle the situation if this does occur.

 

Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-sexual-and-gender-based-harassment/8-preventing-and-responding-sexual-harassment-0
 

Ontario Human Rights Commission: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/sexual-harassment-employment-fact-sheet