SHARP Workplaces, (Sexual Harassment Advice, Response, and Prevention for Workplaces), is a unique five-year project funded by the Department of Justice Canada and delivered in a partnership between the Ending Violence Association of BC (EVA BC) and the Community Legal Assistance Society (CLAS).
As the program starts its final year of funding, we look back on efforts to reach small businesses and nonprofits in BC to:
- increase public knowledge about workplace sexual harassment,
- develop employers’ and workers’ skills, confidence, and ability to deal with workplace sexual harassment and help to prevent it, and,
- improve access to legal support and resources for people who experience workplace sexual harassment.
We met these objectives through:
- Development of an online hub of free public legal education resources on sexual harassment in the workplace,
- Free two-hour training sessions developed and co-led by a trauma-informed facilitator from EVA BC and lawyers from CLAS, including a session that looked at the colonial roots of gender-based and sexual violence.
- A free legal clinic for anyone who experiences sexual harassment in the workplace, delivered by CLAS.
More about SHARP Workplaces free training sessions
Because the launch of SHARP Workplaces took place during the pandemic, planned in-person training sessions were moved online and delivered over Zoom. Since 2022 the team has led more than 30 free training sessions with over 150 participants.
On request, SHARP Workplaces also adapted the materials to create customized workshops for individual workplaces, reaching another 60 participants. And the options continue to evolve. SHARP Workplaces materials have been used to develop other related training programs like the hospitality-focused Training In Prevention and Safety (TIPS) and other customized training. With surveys of participants and rigorous reviews of materials, the EVA BC and CLAS teams have worked together to keep the training and the information it provides as accessible, relevant and useful as possible.
Looking forward, by the summer of 2023, SHARP Workplaces plans to start to offer in-person options for free training, on request. If your organization is interested in requesting an in-person SHARP Workplaces training session (minimum six participants), please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perminder Flora is the Project Lead for SHARP Workplaces at the EVA BC.
“I look forward to this next phase of in-person training sessions where we can deliver training within small organizations and have an even greater impact on an entire workplace.”
Training testimonials for SHARP Workplaces free online training:
I want to extend my thanks to you all for including me in a very engaging, friendly and non-stressful setting even though the subject is serious.
I appreciated the way it was delivered and the opportunities to share. I also like how there are levels of training available for both workers and employers
Thank you for presenting an important and potentially triggering topic in bite-sized accessible chunks and in a compassionate way.
SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic
Since opening SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic in March 2020, CLAS lawyers have supported individuals who have experienced sexual harassment to understand their rights and legal options and assisted the clients to address their concerns in their specific situation. Clients come to the clinic at different stages in their journey, with some having started a legal process, while others have not yet raised concerns with their employer. The clinic also helps clients connect with support as needed, like finding a counsellor.
“With the support of the clinic, clients gain confidence and often feel empowered to raise their concerns and pursue their rights,” says Jennifer Khor, SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic Supervising Lawyer. “Importantly, clients make the decision about what they want to do and what is best for them.”
In an independent evaluation, 88% of SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic clients reported that they felt listened to and understood, and 79% felt supported in their legal needs.
Legal clinic testimonials
“I would not have known where to begin, what my rights are or what different courses of action were available in proceeding with a claim. The lawyer I was paired with through [SHARP Workplaces Legal Clinic] was able to help guide me through all of that as well as with getting the ball rolling in reports.”
“The services offered at no cost by this clinic have altered the route of my life for the better, following my experience being sexually harassed by my employer. I am happy to know that this service is available for residents in the province.”