Human Resources Legislative Update
Employer Workplace Harassment Obligations Coming Into Force September 8, 2016
Date: August 18, 2016
On September 8, 2016, changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act are coming into force which place additional duties on employers with respect to the prevention of workplace harassment. As previously reported, these changes have been brought about by Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016.
Among other things, the amendments:
- change the definition of “workplace harassment” to include “sexual harassment”
- require an employer to develop and maintain a workplace harassment program in consultation with its joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any
- require an employer to establish a complaint mechanism for reporting complaints or incidents of workplace harassment and an investigation procedure to deal with such complaints or incidents
- require that an employer notify a complainant and respondent in writing of the results of an investigation and any corrective action taken
- provide a health and safety inspector with the power to order an employer, at its own expense, to have an investigation done into a complaint or incident of workplace harassment by an impartial third person.
The Ministry of Labour has issued a Code of Practice with respect to these legislative changes. See our FTR Now of August 17, 2016 Ministry Releases Code of Practice to Guide Employers in New Workplace Harassment Obligations for more information.