Harassment, Discrimination, Inappropriate Behaviour

Women in Computer Science (WiCS) is dedicated to promoting equity in computing, and that includes working to eliminate harassment, discrimination, and inappropriate behaviour in our learning and working environments.

Many people believe that Sexual Harassment is, by definition, sexual in nature (e.g., unwanted sexual attention or coercion). In fact, only 5%-10% of sexual-harassment cases have anything to do with sex. Most are patterns of gender-based harassment and pertain to a pattern of verbal and nonverbal behaviours that express insulting, hostile, and degrading attitudes about members of a particular gender.1

The Ontario Human Rights Code2 protects against harassment and discrimination that is based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression as well as race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, age, marital status, family status or disability. The Code protects both university employees (prohibiting harassment or discrimination in the workplace) and students (prohibiting harassment or discrimination in the delivery of services).

More generally, the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act3 protects university employees and students from general workplace harassment.


1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine”, Policy and Global Affairs; Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine; Committee on the Impacts of Sexual Harassment in Academia; Benya FF, Widnall SE, Johnson PA, editors.

Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2018 Jun 12.

2Human Rights Code, RSO 1990, c H-19.

3Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. O.1.