Free legal advice available through PLEA for workplace sexual harassment

The Public Legal Education Association (PLEA) is hosting The Shift Project to help those seeking legal advice on workplace sexual harassment incidents.

“We provide up to four hours of free legal advice with a private bar lawyer for people who have suffered sexual harassment in a Saskatchewan workplace,” says Hillary Peterson, Legal Program Coordinator with PLEA.

“It’s up to the individual if they want to take any steps forward or take any action. That’s a choice that they have and the lawyer can explain what different options they have.”

Peterson explains that the lawyer can walk a person through how to file a complaint with occupational health and safety, talking with that person union if that’s applicable, filing a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commision, what your rights are through workers compensation, or starting a claim in either civil or criminal court.

“People who are also unsure if what has happened to them is workplace sexual harassment, they also qualify for the program and have that option of speaking to a lawyer,” says Peterson.

People can register for the project by filling out their intake form on its website or by calling 306-974-3333, texting 306-994-8422, or emailing [email protected].

Recently, The Shift project launched an advertising campaign that saw backlash on social media.

“Sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion – but whether sexual harassment has taken place in the workplace isn’t a matter of public opinion. Every person has the right to a work environment free of sexual harassment. This shouldn’t attract polarizing responses, but it has,” says Peterson.

Peterson explains in a media release that the advertising campaign was designed to address the insecurities many victims of sexual harassment feel and validate their experiences and encourage them to seek the help available through The Shift Project.

While some commenters acknowledged the issue of workplace sexual harassment as important, many responses ranged from flippant jokes to aggressive denials.

“I would argue that (those comments) highlight the issue. I think it really does show that we need to be better. We need to be creating workplaces that everyone feels safe and supported in. There has to be a zero-tolerance for workplace sexual harassment,” says Peterson.

She adds that there needs to be more public awareness of what workplace sexual harassment is and that’s what The Shift Project works to help with.

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