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One-in-two women report experiencing harassment, sexual assault at work

A person walks though a downtown Toronto office building with other buildings reflected in a window in this June 11, 2019 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy A person walks though a downtown Toronto office building with other buildings reflected in a window in this June 11, 2019 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
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Nearly one-in-two women have reported experiencing harassment or sexual assault in the workplace during their career, according to a new report from Statistics Canada.

The agency also reported Monday that about three-in-10 men have made similar reports.

Among employed people, those aged 25-34 had the highest rate of incidence report. About 60 per cent of female workers and 39 per cent of their male coworkers said they had endured those sorts of inappropriate behaviour.

StatCan described workplace harassment as “objectionable or unwelcome conduct,” including discrimination, as well as “inappropriate sexual behaviour.”

Sexual assault includes unwanted touching and sexual activity “to which the victim was unable to consent because they were manipulated, coerced, intoxicated or forced in another non-physical way.”

About 44 per cent of women reported experiencing inappropriate sexualized behaviours, about 20 per cent said they had experience discrimination, and 13 per cent reported sexual assault. As for male workers, three in 10 reported inappropriate sexual behaviours, nine per cent reported discrimination, and three per cent said they were sexually assaulted.

People with disabilities were overrepresented in reports of those kinds.

Verbal abuse was the most common type of workplace harassment, according to the agency, and women were more likely to experience it than men. Female health-care employees experienced more workplace harassment than women in other professions.

“It was also found that among women in all professions, over half reported clients or customers as perpetrators of sexual harassment,” the agency wrote.

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