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Prince Edward Island
Equal Employment Opportunity

Overview

Please review the information below and then return to the workplace harassment and violence prevention course.

Applicable Laws

The primary Prince Edward Island law prohibiting employment discrimination, including harassment, on the basis of any protected ground is the Human Rights Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. H-12.

The Employment Standards Act, S.P.E.I. 1992, c. 18, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. E-6.2, Workplace Harassment Regulations, P.E.I. Reg. EC 2019-710, and General Regulations, P.E.I. Reg. EC180/87 prohibit harassment and violence in the workplace.

Protected Grounds

Harassment or discrimination based on any ground set forth below is prohibited in Prince Edward Island.

  • age,
  • colour,
  • creed,
  • disability,
  • ethnic or national origin,
  • family status,
  • gender expression,
  • gender identity,
  • marital status,
  • political belief,
  • race,
  • religion,
  • sex,
  • sexual orientation,
  • source of income of any individual
  • or class of individuals.

Some provincial or territorial laws provide additional, separate standards and remedies for certain prohibited conduct, such as laws addressing equal pay without regard to sex or other protected ground.

Definitions of Harassment and Violence

Harassment

The Human Rights Act, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. H-12, does not define what harassment means. Harassment is discrimination when it is based on a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Under the Employment Standards Act, S.P.E.I. 1992, c. 18, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. E-6.2 (ESA), “sexual harassment” means any conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature:

That is likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee; or

That might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived by that employee as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment or on any opportunity for training or promotion.

Under the Workplace Harassment Regulations, P.E.I. Reg. EC 2019-710, the term “harassment” means any inappropriate mean any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture or any bullying that the person knew or ought to know could have a harmful effect on a worker’s psychological or physical health and safety, and includes a single occurrence or repeated:

Conduct that is based on any personal characteristic such as race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin, gender identity or pregnancy.

Inappropriate sexual conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, including sexual solicitations or advances, sexually suggestive remarks, jokes or gestures, circulating or sharing inappropriate images or unwanted physical conduct.

Reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor related to management and direction of workers or the workplace is excluded from the definition of harassment.

Violence

Under the General Regulations, P.E.I. Reg. EC180/87, the definition of “violence” means the threatened, attempted or actual exercise of any physical force by a person other than a worker, that can cause, or that causes, injury to a worker. This includes any threatening statement or behaviour that gives the worker reasonable cause to believe that they are at risk of injury.

Violence between co-workers does not fall under the violence in the workplace provisions of the General Regulations. However, workers have an independent duty, under the general provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, S.P.E.I. 2004, c. 42, R.S.P.E.I. 1988, c. O-1.01 (OHSA), to:

Take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety of other persons at or near the workplace.

Cooperate with the employer and with the other workers to protect the health and safety and those workers at or near the workplace.

Filing a Claim in Prince Edward Island

A claim for employment discrimination or harassment based on a protected ground may be filed with the Prince Edward Island Human Rights Commission.

A claim related to workplace violence, including harassment, may be filed with the Worker’s Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island.

Retaliation Prohibited

Employer retaliation against an employee who files a complaint relating to harassment or workplace violence or is involved in the complaint process is unlawful.