Here’s a question that probably few lawmakers are interested in asking themselves: does human rights legislation make the people it is designed to protect less desirable to employers?
But who’s going to explain them to you? Or maybe more importantly, who’s going to explain whether the changes mean anything to you?
Following my December 14 blog post , the Ontario government gave royal assent to Bill 168, Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009, on December 15, 2009. As we stated…
I’m sure you are wondering where this blog post is leading to and why I would think cross-training employees important. Well, the near-miss pandemic phase made me think,…
Ontario Bill 168, the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 finally passed third reading on December 9, 2009 and is awaiting royal assent to become law. The bill will come into force six months after it receives royal assent (which is expected sometime mid-2010), and will make a number of significant changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). New provisions will require employers to take precautions to prevent and protect workers from violence, harassment and domestic violence that could take place in the workplace. This means all employers will have to address the issue of violence and harassment prevention on both a human rights and a health and safety perspective.
Many people argue that workplace gossip is harmless and in fact brings co-workers together as friends, increasing trust and honesty. However, if you watch soaps, you know where this can lead. In the right (or wrong) hands, even a superficially innocuous complaint or tidbit of information can grow way out of proportion, leading often to disastrous (and on television, often humorous) results. On TV, there always seems to be someone waiting for that bit of incriminating evidence with the intention to wreak havoc on someone else’s life! One hopes this is not quite the case in real-life workplaces.
Anyone who watches soap operas (Coronation Street is my favourite), shows like Desperate Housewives or reality television knows that gossip is a great way to drive a fictional plot forward. In fact, without gossip, TV would be a wasteland of talk shows, game shows, sports, documentaries and news. (And I don’t mean celebrity news!) Heck, without gossip, our lives would probably be far less interesting—until we found something else to talk about.
According to the Supreme Court, “The Damages Formerly Known As Wallace” (damages for bad faith in the course of dismissal) are to be compensatory rather than arbitrary extensions of the notice period. But what if the employer acted in bad faith, but the employee didn’t suffer any damages? What circumstances should justify an award?