Nov 25, 2011 | For Employees

Workplace Harassment: Five Things You Need to Know About Filing a Complaint

Until recently, employees with workplace harassment complaints felt they had no legal options. It was possible to quit and claim constructive dismissal but most employees are reluctant to do so.

Since June 2010, however, Ontario employees have had the right to file a harassment complaint under the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA).

Here are five things you need to know about filing a complaint under the OHSA:

1.      Have you subject to workplace harassment?

Under the OHSA, “workplace harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious  comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought  reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

“Vexatious” is not defined in the OHSA however the word has been interpreted under another Ontario law to mean the comment or  conduct is annoying, distressing or agitating to the person complaining, or the person finds the comments and conduct worrisome, discomfiting and demeaning.

2.      Has your employer posted a workplace harassment policy?

If there are six or more workers regularly employed at the workplace, it should be posted. If not, ask for a copy of it.

3.   Does your employer have a complaint procedure for workplace harassment complaints?

If there are six or more workers regularly employed at the workplace, it should be made available to you. If not, ask for a copy of it.

4.     What can you do if your employer refuses to investigate a workplace harassment complaint?

Contact the Ontario Ministry of Labour. An employer is required to investigate a workplace harassment complaint.

5.     What if your employer disciplines you for filing a workplace harassment complaint

Speak to a lawyer, or file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour. The OHSA specifically prohibits an employer for disciplining or otherwise punishing an employee for exercising his or her rights under the OHSA.

For more information about harassment or violence at work, see here. For information about sexual harassment, see here.

If you have any questions about your right to file a workplace harassment complaint, please contact us at  [email protected] or 1-888-640-1728 (toll free) or 647-633-9894 (within the GTA).

The material and information in this blog and this website are for general information only. They should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. The authors make no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of any information referred to in this blog or its links. No person should act or refrain from acting in reliance on any information found on this website or blog. Readers should obtain appropriate professional advice from a lawyer duly licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. These materials do not create a lawyer-client relationship between you and any of the authors or the MacLeod Law Firm.



Recent Posts

Paid Sick Leave? Sort of

With the numbers of COVID-19 cases rising again, especially in the GTA, many employees are asking me as a Toronto employment lawyer what happens if they become sick and they are forced to stay home for 14 days. Following the end of the Canada Emergency Response...

read more

Toronto Office

702 - 2 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, ON M4W 3E2

Barrie Office

277 - 92 Caplan Avenue,
Barrie, ON L4N 9J2

Collingwood Office

220 - 1 First Street
Collingwood, ON
L9Y 1A1



+1 (888) 640-1728


(866) 883-8445


[email protected]

Toronto Office

702 - 2 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON M4W 3E2

Barrie Office

277 - 92 Caplan Avenue, Barrie ON L4N 9J2

Collingwood Office

220 - 1 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1A1


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!