Module 5: Gender Equity
At the Organizational Level
How can workplaces support gender equity?
There are many ways to be an ally in the workplace. Utilize your power to be an ally in the ways that feel best for you. Here are a few examples:
It is important to understand how to self-advocate. No one knows your needs better than you. Take the time to do the work and be your own best champion.
Responsibility for blunting racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist thoughts and actions is shared between individuals, organizations, and society. The aim of these modules is to gain knowledge, awareness and skills that will enable learners to take effective actions that combat discrimination and create more inclusive and safe environments, so the experience of learning is a rich one with opportunities for you bring your full creative self too and be meaningfully engaged. It is acknowledged that the power dynamics between the student who may be experiencing or witnessing discrimination and the perpetrators who may be in a position of authority or status (this can also be another peer) can make challenging or speaking up difficult and sometimes scary. There are different factors that weigh into a person’s decision to act and are not always clear-cut reasons nor are they the same for everyone. Whatever the reason, the decision you make should be one that you are comfortable with.
Being informed about the options available to you can help you to determine how you wish to respond and the steps that can be taken, the supports available and the possible outcomes. In some circumstances, the decision to address concerns and incidents does not rest with only you. Once a disclosure is made, processes to respond to situations of discrimination or harassment are triggered such as an investigation or duty to report and respond, as impacts can go beyond individuals directly involved impacting the large group or organization.
Deciding how to respond does not have to be a decision you make on your own and without support. You are encouraged to reach out to program faculty and staff within your institution. There may also be a variety of campus services from which you can also seek advice, will assist you with getting connected to the proper supports and bringing a complaint forward. Remember you do not have to handle things on your own.
Knowing Your Rights
The Ontario Human Rights Code (OHRC) recognizes discrimination based on sex. The Code offers protection from harassment and wrongful dismissal due to pregnancy.
Within the workplace, the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) outlines the process for reporting workplace harassment. When raising a complaint, the organization must respond immediately to ensure safety. The time required to conduct an investigation can vary depending on the case and its complexity. The employer is required to provide written feedback on the outcome of the investigation.
If the outcome of the investigation is not satisfactory, you may file a complaint with the ministry, who will step in to conduct a deeper analysis of the situation.
As mentioned previously, it is important to keep documentation tracking the situation. The more information you have, the stronger your case will be.
Below are the steps to take to report harassment according to the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA):
- Report the event to your employer or supervisor.
- Your employer must conduct an investigation.
- Both the staff member who was harassed and the harasser will receive a written outline of the investigation’s findings and actions taken.
- If the situation has not been resolved, you can file a complaint with the ministry.