Ready for Bill 132?
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.
I hope so, the Ontario government is clearly not satisfied with the current state of the harassment and violence in the workplace legislation. As a result they have introduced “It’s Never Okay, An action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment” (March 2015). Never heard of it? You will,
The premier of Ontario has stated;
“….We want to strengthen our laws to ensure that our workplaces are free from sexual violence and harassment. We want to improve safety on our campuses, where assault and harassment are too prevalent and often go unreported and unchecked.
Above all, we want to challenge and change the deep-rooted attitudes and behaviours that contribute to sexual violence and harassment….” (www.ontario.ca/document/action-plan-stop-sexual-violence-and-harassment)
This revision of the violence and Harassment legislation will update the definition of “Workplace Harassment” to include Workplace Sexual Harassment, add some additional components for your internal policy and investigation process. In addition it will give inspectors the authority to require an independent third party investigation at the employers expense. There are also changes that add requirements to policy development in the education sector, such as student input, data collection and a definition of sexual violence. These changes take place in September 2016.
This is serious stuff, as an employer it is best to be prepared in advance to deal with these kinds of claims.
We suggest to our clients that they have a solid policy and procedure in place, that they have trained all of their staff on them. In addition that they have a qualified/licensed investigator on call in the event a complaint requires investigation.
We will continue to monitor this legislation and the results of the changes as it moves forward and keep you advised.
Rick Filsinger, CHRP, CHRL, PI