Antisemitic Harassment in the Workplace

We are receiving troubling reports of incidents of antisemitic harassment occurring in workplaces across the country. 

In some instances, these incidents may be against the law; but in NO instances are they acceptable – and they should not be tolerated by anyone.

While laws vary depending on which province you work in, these general principles apply everywhere: 

Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees in the workplace. They are also required, by law, to have and implement a policy on the prevention of harassment and the handling of complaints.

Employees have a right to work in an environment free from harassment.

What is Workplace Harassment?

Workplace harassment is 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.

It can be one or a series of incidents or comments.

It can take the form of:

  • Religious, racial, or ethnic harassment
  • Inappropriate language
  • Jokes, email, voicemail
  • Displays of inappropriate pictures
  • Insults
  • Threats
  • Other forms of bullying

In other words, antisemitism in the workplace can constitute harassment – and there are legal consequences to workplace harassment.

What you should do if you experience antisemitic harassment in the workplace

The employer’s first duty is to maintain a harassment-free workplace.

Every employer has a legal obligation to have and enforce an anti-harassment policy. An employer also has a legal obligation to prevent any harassment situation and put a stop to it when the situation is brought to their attention. There can be significant sanctions for an employer who does not abide by these requirements.

If you are the subject of, or a witness to, an antisemitic incident at work, your first duty is to speak up and challenge the behaviour. Then you must report it to the person identified in your employer’s harassment policy.

Should the employer not follow its harassment policy, we suggest you contact an employment lawyer.