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Employee rights: On-the-job sexual harassment is unacceptable

It is every person's right to go to a workplace that is safe and free of harassment. All Ontario workers have employee rights in every vocation, including those in the service industry. The restaurant industry in Canada is offering training on sexual harassment after a prominent Alberta chef and restaurant owner was accused of sexually assaulting a staff member at a staff party.

In light of these types of incidents, a number of restaurants in Ottawa along with women's advocates and unions started Order's Up, -- campaign offering online tools for local workers in the food and beverage industry to report experiences of sexual assault, intimidation and harassment, anonymously. Order Up has received funding through a Justice Canada grant. It's also being supported by Unifor, the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women and the Sexual Assault Network.

Although there hasn't been a decision about what to do about the anonymous reports, discussions have centred around the possibility of giving restaurants letter grades akin to safety food programs in Toronto and New York. Potential patrons can make the decision whether to support an establishment where an employee may have been sexually harassed. A similar group in Vancouver, however, would rather share best practices and give both employees and employers a better grip of their responsibilities and rights under the law.

Harassment on the job is against the the law. Ontario residents who believe their employee rights have been violated in any fashion may be able to make an informed decision about what to do by discussing their situations with a lawyer. Moving forward to pursue any kind of compensation may be less stressful with the assistance of an experienced employment law attorney.

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