Bill 168 is intended to address concerns of workplace violence and harassment in the context of health and safety. It provides definitions of both workplace violence and workplace harassment, and then requires that organizations undertake a risk assessment, draft workplace violence and harassment policies, and develop programs to implement those policies. Furthermore, Bill 168 requires training and instruction of employees regarding the new policies and programs, and creates a positive obligation on the part of employers to take reasonable precautions for the protection of workers when the employer is aware that they may be exposed to domestic violence. Bill 168 also requires that employers provide personal information to employees regarding persons with a history of violent behaviour. Finally, Bill 168 expands the existing right to refuse work, so that it now applies where there is a risk of imminent danger due to workplace violence.
Does the Bill go far enough in addressing workplace violence? Too far? How do we reconcile the reporting obligations with privacy rights?
Employees can be dismissed for cause, and therefore without notice or severance, when their misconduct or performance is so egregious that the employment relationship has been irreparably harmed. In assessing this issue, employers must adopt a contextual approach, which considers not only the misconduct in question, but the entirety of the employment relationship.