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Is training a wise investment?

I always encourage my workshop participants to seek out many sources of information on workplace law and best practices. I believe the best “teacher” is one that is readily available to the learner and speaks with a voice that resonates with the learner.

Often a convenient source of information, like a commuter newspaper or your favourite blog, will inspire you to dig deeper and seek in-depth knowledge on a particular topic that affects your workplace.

I had just that experience last week reading a “Workplace Law” article by Daniel Lublin in the commuter newspaper, Metro. Dan’s article is a wrap-up of important developments in employment law and provided tips on what to focus on in 2012.

Dan’s article inspired me to dig deeper into one particular issue, and here’s what I found:  Wamsley v. Ed Green Blueprinting, 2010

This decision of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario reinforces the legal realities that in your workplace you must have:

  • A workplace harassment policy in place
  • Adequate training programs for both staff and managers
  • A complaint mechanism that is both reasonable and adequate

The case involves an employee’s complaint that she was patted on the bum by a third-party service provider. The incident took place on the employer’s premises, but the alleged harasser was not employed directly by the employer. He was employed by the company that serviced the company’s office photocopiers.

At the hearing (just imagine the time, money and energy involved!) the tribunal chair pointed out

  • The manager handling the complaint had not received training in workplace human rights
  • The employer did not have a harassment policy in place
  • The employer’s representative failed to investigate the complaint reasonably and adequately

Now go back and read the details of this decision. Think of training as insurance. What is the better investment:

  • A hearing that reveals all the sordid details this one does?


  • A half-day training session that would have taught the manager to handle to complaint properly?

Learn—don’t litigate.

Andrew Lawson

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Andrew Lawson

Trainer and advisor at Learn Don't Litigate
Andrew Lawson is a human rights and health and safety trainer and advisor, currently consulting to both the federal and Ontario governments. Since 1996, he has conducted extensive legal research in the areas of human rights and occupational health and safety law. He has worked in the people management business for over 25 years. Read more
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