September 8, 2016, Bill 132 takes effect. This changes your obligations as an employer concerning harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Under the new law, the definition of workplace harassment is amended to include workplace sexual harassment. The new definition of workplace sexual harassment includes a provision specifically aimed at people in positions of authority.
Workplace harassment means:
(a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or
(b) workplace sexual harassment.
Workplace sexual harassment means:
(a) engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or
(b) making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.
What are your employer obligations?
The new amendments place more emphasis on employer requirements including:
- consulting with the Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) or health and safety representative in developing a program for harassment
- providing information and instruction to all workers regarding the policy
- developing measures and procedures to report harassment to someone other than the employer, if the employer is the alleged harasser
- describing how information will not be disclosed until necessary to investigate or take corrective action
- conducting investigations that are appropriate in the circumstances
- giving workers (and the alleged harasser if an employee) the results of the investigation in writing and information on any corrective action taken
- reviewing the program at least annually.
A Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspector can now order that an investigation be conducted by an impartial person at the expense of the employer.
The results of investigations or reports required under these provisions are excluded as reports that need to be provided the JHSC or a health and safety representative.
If you need assistance with your program development under this legislation we can help. Additionally, we can facilitate the required training in your organization contact us now.