Sunday October 15, 2017

Is sexual harassment still too common in the workplace?

This week Checkup asks: is sexual harassment still too common in the workplace?

This week Checkup asks: is sexual harassment still too common in the workplace? (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Listen to Full Episode 1:53:01

Sexual harassment.

The cover's off a Hollywood mogul who long used his powerful position to hit on women. Many wonder why nobody spoke out. Is such behaviour still too common in the workplace?

It's known as casting couch culture. A long and ugly tradition of Hollywood heavyweights who promise young female actors a role in exchange for sex — a storyline as old as the oldest Hollywood plot.

But in the past week, the real-life stories of female actors about their horrifying encounters with one powerful mogul in Tinseltown just keep coming.

Over 30 women, including major stars like Angelina Jolie and Gwenyth Paltrow, have now come forward saying they were sexually harassed — or assaulted — by movie producer Harvey Weinstein. He has apologized in vague terms about his behaviour but denied any allegations of non-consensual sex.

Duncan McCue

Host of Cross Country Checkup, Duncan McCue. (Kevin Van Paassen)

The allegations haven't stopped though. More and more details pour forth, disturbing and repugnant. And it's ignited a storm online, with women sharing their own stories of sexual harassment and calling out colleagues who've turned a blind eye.

Many wonder why nobody spoke out. What do you think? Do you have a Harvey Weinstein in your office? Is such behaviour — and systems of harassment and belittlement and bullying — still too common in workplaces across Canada? How much is corporate hierarchy and toxic masculinity to blame? How can companies build better policies to deal with sexual harassment?

Our question: Is sexual harassment still too common in the workplace?

Guests

Charlene Senn,  Professor in the Department of Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies Program at the University of Windsor

Howard Levitt, a labour lawyer and author of  "The Law of Dismissal for Human Resources Professionals"

Karen Busby, Professor of Law at the University of Manitoba, and Academic Director of the Centre for Human Rights Research 

Lindsay Lyster, a lawyer at Moore Edgar Lyster Law Firm in Vancouver, and president of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association