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violence in the workplace

30 tips for a reasonable workplace investigation

In Canada, a requirement to conduct a workplace investigation is triggered in case of harassment, sexual harassment or violence. What then is required of such a workplace investigation? In short, a “reasonable” investigation is required.


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When should an employer conduct a workplace investigation?

Under the common law, and specifically under Sections 25(2)(h) and 32.0.5 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Ontario), every employer has a duty to conduct a workplace investigation after an incident of workplace violence has allegedly occurred. In other words, if an employer gets a complaint about violence at work, or if the employer witnesses violence at work, it must conduct an investigation.


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Conduct unbecoming becoming employer’s problem?

The National Football League (NFL) has been widely criticized these past recent weeks regarding how it dealt with (or did not deal with) Baltimore Ravens’ ex-player, Ray Rice, when it initially discovered that he allegedly committed a serious act of violence against his then-fiancée.


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Employee complaints, gripes, whines and other good business advice

Retired football coach, broadcaster and motivational speaker Lou Holtz said, “Never tell your problems to anyone…20% don’t care and the other 80% are glad you have them.” Although this may have some truth for most of us, employers must be careful not to fall into either category.


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The importance of conducting risk assessments for human resources

When an organization gives one of their human resources a task, how often is a risk assessment done? The answer is: it depends. When firefighters are asked to enter a burning building, the person in charge first assesses the risk to his people. When the engineers at the Japanese nuclear plant had to re-enter the facility to prevent a meltdown, a risk assessment was also completed before that. However, when most organizations fly their sales guy to South Africa, or get the young clerk at the gas station to close up the shop at night, rarely do they consider all the risks.


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‘Hazing’ and ‘horseplay’ in the workplace – a serious matter for the employer

I recently read an article on “hazing” and “horseplay” in the workplace. Photos and videos revealed incidents where employees were subjected to some very unusual, and downright unacceptable, treatment in the transportation and works department of their municipal employer.


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Clarification on Ontario Bill 168

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.


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Ontario Bill 168 passes: workplace violence and harassment prevention addressed

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.


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