This section starts with a definition of harassment and sexual harassment and then looks at how context and perception, including perception in power relationships, influence the determination of sexual harassment.

This section presents examples of behaviours, which may constitute sexual harassment and provides criteria or guidelines to judge whether sexual harassment has occurred.

The Ontario Human Rights Code defines harassment as an

"engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome."

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Janzen v. Platy Enterprises Ltd. (1989) provided a simplified definition of sexual harassment in employment.

"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."

An employee receives a compliment on what he or she is wearing.

Question: An employee receives a compliment on what he or she is wearing. Do you consider this to be sexual harassment?

Feedback: It is impossible to conclude if this is sexual harassment or not because no information is provided regarding whether the employee welcomes the behaviour or not. The employee may very well perceive the compliment to be appropriate in a particular situation and yet find it offensive in another one.

Recognize definitions of sexual harassment.

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