Published In

Canadian Journal of Women and the Law

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2020

Subjects

Workplace, Sexual Harrasment, BC Human Rights Tribunal

Abstract

Legal complaints concerning workplace sexual harassment are anticipated to increase, following in the wake of the #MeToo movement and a number of high-profile cases in Canada. Yet little contemporary research has analyzed sexual harassment laws in Canada. This article contributes to further research on sexual harassment laws through a case analysis of BC Human Rights Tribunal decisions from 2010 to 2016. This article analyzes trends in assessing credibility and character in sexual harassment complaints and establishes that the requirement that a complainant prove that the conduct in question was “unwelcome” improperly shifts the focus of the legal inquiry towards her own behaviour. Drawing on well-documented issues concerning gendered myths and stereotypes in the sexual assault context, this article demonstrates that similar problems are introduced in sexual harassment complaints through the “unwelcome” requirement.

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