How to deal violence and harassment in the workplace
What are my obligations to prevent violence and harassment in the workplace?
The Ministry of Labour’s direction is that you must:
- develop and implement a program to protect workers from the risks identified;
- assess the risk of violence;
- prepare workplace policies for both violence and harassment (which includes sexual harassment);
- inform and instruct employees on the program and procedures;
- create a process for responding to complaints and threat.
- also applies to farm businesses - who hire employees.
What happens if a Safety Inspector from the Ministry of Labour (MOL) comes by the workplace?
An Inspector will:
- will ask your employees what instruction or training they had;
- will check policies are posted for employees to see;
- review health and safety records, minutes, incident reports;
- check that the new & revised Occupational Health and Safety Act (Greenbook) is posted, etc
What policies am I required to post in my workplace?
The following sample policies were created by the Ministry of Labour.
I have posted the violence and harassment policy, are there further requirements?
It is not enough to just post your workplace violence and harassment policy. You must also create a program which outlines your measures and procedures. In addition you must train workers and supervisors. Read more on What Employers Need to Know a Toolbox.
Am I required to hire a third party to conduct the training?
No, you are not required to hire a third party to conduct violence and harassment training. However, you are required to train employees on your company policies and program.
Resources to help you:
- Video on Bill 168 and compliance
- Workplace Violence and Harassment from WSPS, previously OSSA (Ontario Service Safety Alliance) provides some direction.
- Workplace Violence and Harassment- Understanding the Law - describes everyone's rights and responsibilities and answers, in plain language, the questions that are most commonly asked about these requirements.
My employee has informed me of an alleged violent or harassment situation, what do I do?
If you find yourself in a situation where you require an impartial party to take a complaint or investigate a complaint from an employee, please consider getting expert legal advice from a lawyer experienced in employment law or occupational health & safety. It may be prudent to have this resource in place before a complaint is made.