Toronto [June 10, 2020]: Ontarians who are victims of workplace sexual harassment now have more access to justice thanks to a new, dedicated free legal advice hotline launched by Pro Bono Ontario (PBO). Funded by the Department of Justice, the Workplace Sexual Harassment Hotline is open Monday to Friday from 1pm – 7pm EST at 1-855-776-1855 and connects people directly with a lawyer. https://www.probonoontario.org/wshh/
Lawyers with expertise in employment and human rights law will provide free summary advice and information to people who are or were employed in Ontario that experienced harassment on the job related to sex, sexual orientation, or gender. PBO will:
- Help victims identify the nature of their legal issues,
- Provide advice and assistance on steps they can take themselves,
- Draft letters and basic legal documents for use in the Ontario justice system, and
- Where appropriate, make referrals to pro bono and other lawyers who can provide additional assistance.
The Workplace Sexual Harassment Hotline is built on a proven model. In 2017, PBO launched a general Free Legal Advice Hotline for Ontarians experiencing legal problems such as employment, housing, consumer debt and protection, civil litigation, and estate planning issues. That hotline has gone on to answer more than40,000 calls and achieves a 90% user satisfaction rating. Since the COVID-19 crisis began, calls about employment problems have increased 173%.
“Workplace sexual harassment is not a new problem, but its impacts are much more pernicious in this climate as victims are worried about job security and are that much more afraid to stand up to abuse,” says executive director Lynn Burns. “This hotline is here to support them, to help guide them and to give them the legal resources they need”.
Founded in 2001, Pro Bono Ontario is a registered charity that provides free legal services to nearly 30,000 clients each year, representing vulnerable Ontarians with the civil, non-family legal problems that account for approximately 60 percent of unmet legal needs in the province. https://www.probonoontario.org
Media contact: Jennifer Flores, Workplace Sexual Harassment Hotline Staff Lawyer
416-977-4448 ext. 929