We’ve already heard statements like “It’s a private matter”, “It’s none of your business”, “It’s personal”. Prior to October 6th, 2021, employers could just stop there and still have a clear mind about it. Can they still do the same with the new amendments to the Act Respecting Occupational Health and safety (AROHS)?
domestic violence and the workplace
Ontario's recently enacted workplace violence amendment places a legal onus on provincially regulated employers to safeguard employees from the risk of domestic violence in the workplace. Additional jurisdictions are likely to follow suit. In legal terms, domestic violence is increasingly becoming a foreseeable workplace risk. In moral terms, inaction on this growing workplace issue would introduce unacceptable human risk.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most of the requirements of Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace) 2009 are uncontroversial, and most organizations should have little trouble understanding them and complying. However, one aspect of the law has caused more discussion and confusion than any other: the domestic violence provisions, which require employers to intervene in instances where they suspect (based on reasonable evidence) that an employee has suffered or is suffering from domestic violence, particularly if that violence might reach into the workplace.