I have been busy at the HRPA Annual Conference and Tradeshow this week where I had the pleasure of presenting, “Protecting Your Organization from the Workplace Bully.” I can report that, based on the buzz among HR Professionals and decision makers I have talked to, employers are really aware of their obligations and challenges under the amended Occupational Health & Safety Act. Employers, for the most part, also have a renewed interest in reaching up and pulling down from the shelf, those plans for training in the areas of harassment prevention!
On January 27, 2010, I attended the HRPA annual conference. I was most interested on the session titled, Violence in the Workplace: An Update on Bill 168 from the Ministry of Labour. I needed some clarification on possible exemptions to the new violence and harassment prevention law and the application of certain measures in the bill.
The Ontario Occupational Health and safety Act violence and harassment prevention provisions (Bill 168) require employers to provide information, including personal information, about a person with a history of violent behaviour if:
The impact of the aging workforce is being felt globally in the economy and is directly affecting businesses. Unprecedented issues have arisen, such as labour shortages, greater health care needs for the elderly, and decreased private and public investments with fewer people contributing as the baby boom generation retires. In addition, the issues of older workers and eldercare have come to the forefront as demographic trends continue to show declining fertility rates and a steady increase in life expectancy.
I recently read an Alberta case where a financial consultant, a top performer, was terminated without notice. The court found he was wrongfully dismissed and terminated in an insensitive manner; this error in judgment cost the employer $2.2 million in damages.
Ontario employers take heed, the six-month transition period provided by the government before amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (Bill 168) come into force allow you time to prepare and be in compliance. This means implementing the new rules and measures required by law on or before June 15, 2010.
What do you do when an employee tells you she’s refusing to work because she fears she’ll suffer from an act of violence at the workplace? You might ask: can the worker even do that? With workplace violence and harassment legislation and regulation spreading across Canada, you might just need to know.
It’s the beginning of the year and employers are gearing up for annual employee performance reviews. Although employment standards legislation is silent on the topic, there are some principles that have come out of the common law that are important for employers to know.
The Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act violence and harassment prevention provisions (Bill 168) require an employer to take all reasonable precautions in the circumstances for the protection of all employees if a domestic violence situation is likely to expose a worker to physical injury in the workplace and the employer becomes aware or ought reasonably to be aware of the situation.
But what does that imply? The law states the requirement but provides little guidance on what employers need to do to prevent domestic violence from spilling into the workplace. In addition, many employers are not comfortable addressing a situation of such a personal nature. It is not an easy task to complete and might never be.