I’m Jason Firth.
I’m not normally the sort to comment on current news stories (apparently I’m making a habit of it, though). I would rather my blog not become overtly political, and personally I think the idea of ‘picking sides’ in partisan nonsense is a great way to lose friends and make enemies.
However, when it comes to the stories coming out about Harvey Weinstein’s reprehensible behaviour, I’m willing to make an exception.
In years past, I wrote about the environment women in technology and the trades might find themselves in. When I said “it won’t be fair”, I was referring to more passive behaviours I saw: looks that weren’t appropriate for the workplace, comments behind people’s backs and behind closed doors that weren’t the most professional. What I was absolutely NOT referring to is overt sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace.
I want to be crystal clear: Overt sexual harassment or sexual assault is not acceptable in the workplace, period. There is no “Oh, work your way through it” in such situations — such a person should face the legal and practical consequences of their actions, and nobody — male or female — has any reason to work under such conditions. It is against the law for a supervisor or manager to sexually harass a worker under any and all circumstances. There is no excuse.
In fact, in Ontario, “wanting it” isn’t a defense. If a supervisor or manager is making advances against workers, that’s unlawful harassment under the occupational health and safety act. Speak up. If that supervisor won’t listen, then another will. We have a legal duty to.
Thanks for reading.