by Stacy Dunn
The PEI Human Rights Commission’s SHIFT Project recently shared the results of its workplace sexual harassment survey. Over 1,600 people responded to the survey, which is roughly 1 in every 52 people in the PEI labour force.
The survey’s goal was to gauge the awareness and experiences of Island employers and employees when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace. Sixty-four percent of the respondents were women; 35 percent were men.
The survey heard from 1,035 people on PEI who have experienced workplace sexual harassment. Of those, 621 were women and 330 were men.
Respondents worked in the following industries:
- Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting
- Retail trade
- Finance and insurance
- Professional, scientific, and technical services
- Educational services
- Healthcare and social assistance
- Accommodation and food services
- Other services (except public administration)
- Public administration
The majority of those affected noted the impacts included:
- not feeling safe at work
- avoiding work social events or activities
- called in sick or turned down work shifts or opportunities
- quit the job or took a leave of absence.
About two-thirds of respondents said they reported harassment to their mangers, and of those people who reported it, 84 percent said their employers took action. About 93 percent of the respondents were satisfied with the action taken.
Training & Safety Kit available
One-third of respondents were uncomfortable with reporting the harassment. “To make it easier for them, we created a Workplace Safety Kit – in the same way every workplace has a First Aid Kit,” says Laura K. Bird, Project Manager. “The kit includes the name and number of the person who handles reports or incidents.
“Everything in the kit adheres to the guidelines set out in the Guide to Workplace Harassment Regulations from the Workers Compensation Board of PEI.
“Employers must make employees aware their culture does not permit workplace sexual harassment. They must provide a space where we don’t say or do those things, and if we do, there will be consequences.”
SHIFT Project educates employers on the cause, impact, and prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace. It includes the Management Alert Program for service-based industries designed to deal quickly and efficiently with harassing customers and keep staff safe. Laura does virtual and in-person presentations to employers and employees.
For more information, call 902-368-4180 or email [email protected]
The SHIFT Project is an initiative of the PEI Human Rights Commission, with funding from the Department of Justice, Canada.