Pornography as Sexual Harassment in Canada

DIRECTIONS IN SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAW, pp. 417-436, Reva B. Siegel, Catharine A. MacKinnon, eds., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004

Posted: 13 Aug 2010

See all articles by Janine Benedet

Janine Benedet

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2004

Abstract

The display or use of pornography in the workplace is recognized as a form of sexual harassment by provincial human rights tribunals in Canada. Although few decisions have considered this issue, tribunals have held that the presence of pornography in the workplace creates an unequal working environment for women. Unlike the situation in the United States where certain kinds of sexual harassment, including workplace pornography, are protected speech under the First Amendment, there have been no serious free speech arguments in Canadian sexual harassment cases. This essay considers why this is so, and suggests that the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Ross v. School District No. 15 (upholding the disciplining of a teacher for off-duty racist speech, against his freedom of expression claim) makes the success of a similar challenge to sexual harassment laws unlikely.

Keywords: Pornography, Sexual Harassment, Charter rights, Freedom of speech

Suggested Citation

Benedet, Janine, Pornography as Sexual Harassment in Canada (2004). DIRECTIONS IN SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAW, pp. 417-436, Reva B. Siegel, Catharine A. MacKinnon, eds., New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1649107

Janine Benedet (Contact Author)

University of British Columbia - Faculty of Law ( email )

1822 East Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1
Canada
604 822 0637 (Phone)
604 822 8108 (Fax)

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