In 2009 the government introduced new legislation to deal with harassment and violence in the workplace. Most people know this as Bill 168 or workplace violence legislation.
In case you have been living under the proverbial rock you may not have heard that in March this legislation got an upgrade. As of September of 2016 these legislative adjustments will come into effect.
So Why is this important for you to know? The answer is pretty simple, no matter the size of your organization , it will have a definite effect.
The new act, called The SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT ACTION PLAN ACT (SUPPORTING SURVIVORS AND CHALLENGING SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT), 2016 and it implements changes to many other pieces of legislation.
For the purpose of this article let’s look at the changes to the OHSA Ontario.
Following is a summary of these changes:
changing the definition of Workplace Harassment to include a definition of sexual harassment
-A requirement that an employer shall in conjunction with the workplace health and safety committee or representative develop and maintain a written program to implement a policy with regard to workplace harassment.
-Develop and maintain a procedure for staff to report incidents to someone other than the employer or supervisor if they are the alleged harasser.
-Develop and maintain a process that lays out how incidents and complaints will be investigated. How information will be gathered, how privacy will be protected, how the complainant and the accused will be advised of the results of the investigation and any discipline that may flow from the investigation. (in writing).
-Provide training to staff on the above policy and procedures.
-An employer shall ensure that an investigation is conducted into incidents and complaints that is appropriate in the circumstances.
-The program is reviewed as often as necessary and at least annually.
-Ministry of Labour inspectors may order the employer to hire, at the employers cost, an independent investigator.
It should be noted that the term incidents refers to situations that the employer may become aware of and may not necessary be formally reported.
As you can see these changes bring a lot more focus to sexual harassment issue that may arise in a workplace.
For more insight on this and other legislation click here My blog page
Rick Filsinger CHRP,CHRL, PI.