What Are Examples of Sexual Harassment in the Beauty Workplace?
Examples of sexual harassment beauty professionals can experience include but are not limited to:
- unwanted or inappropriate touching
- sexual comments, jokes, and rumours
- harassment because of one’s gender identity and/or sexual orientation
- receiving sexual favours
- distribution of unsolicited sexual images, text messages, and emails
- entering in personal space without permission
- leering or voyeurism
- retaliation/consequences for not returning sexual advances
- many other behaviours that should be known to be unwanted, unwelcome, and harmful
Sexual harassment can be perpetrated by ANYONE in the beauty sector. Harassers are not limited to one gender. They can be from different genders, sexual orientations, and ages. Workplace sexual harassment can include gender and sexual-based harassment that may occur in same-sex situations.
Workers in the beauty sector may experience harassment from:
- Beauty establishment owners or managers
- Supervisors at events
- Volunteers or interns at work
- Clients or customers
- Sales representatives/Suppliers
- Anyone who is engaging in sexualized behaviours/actions at the beauty workplace that ought to be known as harmful and unwelcome.
Imbalances of power between the perpetrator and the beauty worker can influence experiences sexual harassment for workers and impact their mental health and overall well-being.
Remember, workplace sexual harassment is NEVER your fault. Experiences of sexual harassment at work are unique for every beauty professional. The harassment that you experience may not be overt, and you may have a different experience from your co-workers. It is important for you as a beauty worker to get specific advice about your situation
Please seek advice that includes information about legal options, counselling, community supports, income support options, and healthcare etc.
Contact SHARE to learn more about your options in Ontario.
How to Report Sexual Harassment in Beauty Work Environments?
Workplace sexual harassment can happen to ANYONE in the beauty industry. It’s important to recognize, accept your feelings and emotional responses as well as know how to file a complaint at work. All workers in Ontario have a right to file a sexual harassment complaint, but it may not always be clear how a beauty professional can safely file a report with their employer. Do your research and learn what options are available to you.
Keep in mind the following tips:
- Recognize and acknowledge the behaviour/action is making you uncomfortable. If the behaviour is sexual, decide how you want to address it, and what you require to feel safe.
- Research whether your company has a workplace sexual harassment policy – you can usually find the policy at your human resources department. The company policy should also include its own procedures on how to file a complaint. Other steps you can take while researching the workplace sexual harassment policy:
- Discuss sexual harassment incident(s) with your supervisor/manager or with your human resources department (if applicable).
- If you have any concerns about your harasser’s professional relationship to your manager or HR person and that is preventing you from reporting, please contact SHARE to talk about your options.
- At any time, you may contact SHARE in Ontario to find out what options and resources are available to you.
- Document all incidents of sexual harassment and follow-up on all verbal communications about a complaint via email.
- Backup all communications, including screenshots of text messages, to a personal email, an external USB or hard drive for safekeeping.
It is your individual choice if you want to report. You may choose not to report at all and that’s okay.
For help and understanding your options available when dealing with workplace sexual harassment in Ontario, please contact SHARE (Sexual Harassment and Assault Resource Exchange).
SHARE is Here to Help.
The Sexual Harassment and Resource Exchange (SHARE) Team can be reached by calling the HRLSC and following the prompts. You will need to press 8 to reach the SHARE intake staff.
Tel: (416) 597-4900
Toll Free: 1-866-625-5179
TTY: (416) 597-4903
TTY Toll Free: 1-866 612-8627
Don’t work in Ontario? You can get legal support in other provinces. Visit the Public Legal Education Association of Canada website for information about legal services in other provinces: https://www.pleac-aceij.ca/our-work/preventing-sexual-harassment-in-the-workplace-project/