Workplace Harassment Affects Nearly 1 In 5 Canadian Women, 1 In 8 Men: StatCan

Canadian women are considerably more likely to face harassment in the workplace than men, according to data released Monday by Statistics Canada.

The data, which comes from the agency’s 2016 General Social Survey on Canadians at Work and Home, found nearly one in five women and more than one in eight men reported some sort of harassment on the job.

Women are twice as likely as men to report physical violence against them at work, and more than five times as likely to report sexual harassment or unwanted sexual attention.

“Workplace harassment refers to experiences of verbal abuse, humiliating behaviour, threats, physical violence, and unwanted sexual attention or sexual harassment reported by working-age Canadians,” Statistics Canada stated.

“It is important to note that self-reported workplace harassment does not necessarily imply that an official complaint was made.”

In all, 18.7 per cent of women reported harassment at work, compared to 13.2 per cent of men. Verbal abuse was the most common type of harassment, with 12.5 per cent of women and 9.7 per cent of men reporting it.

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The largest gender differences were found in the physical violence category (3.1 per cent of women versus 1.5 per cent of men) and in sexual harassment (3.8 per cent of women versus 0.7 per cent of men).

“One reason why women report different harassment experiences than men is (that) they work in different occupations than men,” the Statistics Canada report said.

“Specifically, women are more likely to work in health occupations, which involve a high degree of interaction with the public, which sometimes can lead to harassment situations.”

Twenty-three per cent of health care workers reported harassment of some type, compared to 15.9 per cent for all job categories.

But even within health care, women are more likely to report harassment — 27 per cent, versus 21 per cent for men.

Damage to personal well-being

Statistics Canada says harassment “has a relationship” with personal and workplace well-being.

“For example, the proportion of women who said that they were dissatisfied with their current job was more than three times higher for those who experienced workplace harassment in the past year (14 per cent) compared with those who did not (less than 4 per cent). Similar results were found for men,” the agency said.

The study also found a significant relationship between workplace harassment and mental health.

Among those who reported harassment, 18 per cent of men and 16 per cent of women reported having poor mental health, compared to 6 per cent of men and 8 per cent of women who were not harassed.