Harassment and Discrimination

Definition of Discrimination

Denial of an opportunity or differential treatment of an individual or group BECAUSE of their perceived or actual membership to one or more of the protected groups designated by relevant provincial or federal human rights law. 

These protected groups are defined by personal characteristics, such as, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.  

Harassment is a form of discrimination, characterized by an abuse of relative power and violation of personal boundaries.   

Power is relative, and might arise from one’s physical size or strength, age, position of authority, wealth, popularity, gender, race, class, etc  


More specifically . . . harassment is behaviour, that when viewed from the perspective of the reasonable person, is:   

1.   Unwelcome or univited, and  

2.   Results in a negative impact or harm upon an individual or group   


Other factors to consider:

  • absence of intent on the part of harasser does not excuse  the negative impact on the receiving individual

  • Repetition is not required       

  • May effect an individual or a “class“ of people 


Workplace or learning environment is expanding beyond the limits of medical school e.g. outside meetings and conferences