Navigating Online Harassment: A Guide for Property Managers

By Anthony Ing
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Online harassment is a growing concern in our digital age, and property managers are increasingly becoming targets. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, online harassment involves using the internet to bully, harass, threaten, or embarrass others maliciously. Property managers often face such harassment through social media, email, and messaging platforms.

Online harassment can vary from repeated actions to a single severe incident. If the behavior is offensive, unwelcome, and a reasonable person would agree, it is likely considered harassment.

In this article, we’ll explore the different forms of online harassment that property managers frequently encounter and provide practical steps to address and mitigate it.

Legislative Frameworks Address Harassment of Property Managers

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Condominium corporations are legally required to protect the health and safety of property managers.

Under the Occupier’s Liability Act, corporations must ensure reasonable safety for everyone on the premises, and this includes on-site property managers. Moreover, Court decisions involving Section 117 of the Condominium Act, 1998, extends this duty to include protection from psychological harm, and not just physical injury. Section 117 of the Condominium Act, 1998 also prohibits any act or omission, conditions or activities which are likely to cause “illness to an individual.”

Additionally, the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the “OHSA”) mandates that condominium corporations investigate and prevent workplace harassment, including that against property managers, ensuring their protection in the workplace.

Common Forms of Online Harassment in the Condo Industry

While online harassment can take many forms, I've outlined the types that property managers are most likely to encounter:

Cyberbullying: Involves spreading rumors, gossip, personal information, and hate speech to harm someone's reputation or well-being.

Doxing: Sharing personal details like a person’s address without consent, often to intimidate or threaten.

Cyberstalking: Stalking someone online, which can include monitoring their activities and harassing them continuously.

Trolling: Provoking with offensive messages to elicit a reaction from the target.

Cybermob Attacks or Dogpiling: Coordinated group targeting, often involving threats and overwhelming the victim with abuse.

Steps to Address Online Harassment

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1. Identify the Harassment: Determine if the behavior is a critique, insult, or outright abuse. If you’re experiencing abuse, identifying and naming it not only acknowledges it as a real problem but also aids in communicating with managers, boards, employers, and law enforcement.

2. Document the Harassment: It is essential to document online harassment before reporting, since reporting can lead to successful removal of the online harassment content, which can erase valuable evidence. Documentation is crucial for legal action and is helpful in discussions with managers, boards, employers, and law enforcement.

General Documenting Tips

Incident Log: Keep a log with details such as date, time, location, officer information (if reported), witnesses, suspected technology involved, and a brief description of the incident.

Save Evidence: Preserve all related evidence, including notes, emails, text messages, and voicemails. Take photos or screenshots to retain this information.

Prioritize Safety: Assess the risk of documenting abuse, as this might escalate the abuser's actions. Trust your instincts and take steps that prioritize your safety.

Relevance: Only document pertinent information that could serve as evidence without including unnecessary personal details.

Platform-Specific Documenting Tips

Email: Save original emails with their headers to preserve IP addresses. Depending on the email platform you are using (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail, etc.), how you access the email header will be different.

Text Messages: Capture screenshots or photos of texts and the contact information to associate messages with the abuser's phone number.

Social Media: Take screenshots of abusive content and use features like Facebook’s "Download Your Information" to archive data.

Phone Calls: Consider recording conversations where legal and document call logs with Caller ID details.

3. Assess Your Safety: Evaluate whether the harassment poses a physical threat. Consider factors such as the abuser's history and specific threats made against you. If you feel physically unsafe, trust your instincts and consider added monitoring or security at your condo. You may also need to report to law enforcement to create a record, even if they aren't well-trained in handling online abuse.

4. Block, Mute, Report: Utilize these features on various platform tools to manage abuse. However, keep in mind that using these tools may have trade offs. Blocking an owner from a social network group can escalate abuse, muting can cover harassment you may need to monitor, and reporting mechanisms are not always effective.

5. Seek Supporters: Seek support from friends, family, board members, and colleagues. Your board or employer may provide support such as mental health care or legal counsel, and may be able to help escalate your concerns to tech companies and law enforcement

6. Respond: Carefully decide if and how to respond to abusers. Abusers, when confronted, may escalate attacks or try to goad their targets into lashing out to get them in trouble. You don’t have to engage if you don’t want to or if it’s becoming overwhelming.

If you choose to respond, consider consulting a lawyer experienced in online harassment cases. Stick to verifiable facts, keep your responses short and concise, and focus on correcting inaccuracies without becoming defensive or escalating the situation.

7. Take Care of Yourself: Dealing with online harassment can be exhausting and demoralizing. Acknowledge the emotional toll of online harassment and engage in activities that promote mental and physical well-being. Professional mental health care may be necessary to navigate the impact of the abuse.


In conclusion, online harassment significantly challenges property managers, impacting their professional and personal lives. Understanding legal frameworks, recognizing harassment types, and effectively documenting and reporting incidents are crucial. Fostering a supportive environment, seeking legal advice, and prioritizing safety and well-being help property managers navigate online abuse. Condominium corporations must ensure a safe workplace, and the community must stand against online harassment.