As part of the Law Society of Upper Canada's efforts to enable equity and diversity in the workplace and the profession, and to help stop discrimination and harassment, the Law Society provides a Discrimination and Harassment Counsel service free-of-charge to the Ontario public, lawyers and paralegals. The Discrimination and Harassment Counsel confidentially assists anyone who may have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or paralegal.
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination includes unwelcome comments or actions that relate to a person's personal characteristics, for example race, gender, sexual orientation and age. It is the impact of the behaviour, not the intention behind it, that determines whether the behaviour is discriminatory. Discrimination violates the Ontario Human Rights Code, the Law Society's Rules of Professional Conduct, and the Paralegal Rules of Conduct..
What is Harassment?
Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes unwelcome comments or behaviour when such conduct might reasonably be expected to cause insecurity, discomfort, offence or humiliation to another person. For example, harassment includes:
- name calling
- racial slurs
- racist jokes
- demands for sexual favours
- sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures
- sexist jokes
What is the Impact of Discrimination and Harassment?
Discrimination and harassment are demeaning practices that attack the dignity and self-respect of the victim. Discrimination and harassment poison relationships and can cause workplace problems such as low morale, reduced productivity, and the loss of valuable employees.
How Can Discrimination and Harassment be Stopped?
If you have experienced discrimination or harassment by a lawyer or paralegal you can contact the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel for advice and support. The Counsel may listen to your concerns and review your options which include:
If all parties agree, the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel may mediate a resolution.
How to Contact the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel
Although the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel position is funded by the Law Society, the Counsel works independently from the Law Society. The Counsel keeps all information received in strict confidence. You can reach the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel by:
More information available in the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel information brochure (pdf) and on the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel Website.