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Ontario Employer Advisor Keeping Employers Advised on Developments in Labour and Employment Law

Tag Archives: harassment

The Deadline is Fast Approaching: Top 5 Items to Prepare for Bill 132 OHSA Compliance

Posted in harassment, Occupational Health and Safety, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Workplace Investigations

Navigating the complexities of workplace harassment is a challenging process for employers.  It often requires the allocation of considerable time and resources to investigate complaints and has the potential to result in significant costs to an organization if it is required to defend its actions or response to litigation.

With the changes to the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) under Bill 132 that come into effect on September 8, 2016, workplace harassment will continue to be a top priority for employers.

What has changed with Bill 132?

  • As we have outlined in a previous post, Bill 132 expands
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Combatting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Formal Measures Required by September 2016

Employers required to have new and updated workplace harassment policies, procedures and training in place by September 8, 2016.

Posted in Investigations, Occupational Health and Safety, Policies, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence

As we wrote about late last year, the Government of Ontario has moved forward with its plan to address sexual violence and harassment. Last week, Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015, received Royal Assent.

While Bill 132 amends various legislation, employers should pay particular attention to the changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act which aim to bolster employee protection from workplace harassment. These changes impose a September 8, 2016 deadline on employers that requires them to address the following:

  • Review (and if necessary, amend)
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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Not just a human rights issue, but safety as well

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety, Policies

New legislation will require employers to revise their workplace harassment policies, procedures and training by Summer 2016

Earlier this year, we wrote about the Government of Ontario’s plan to address sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.  By way of update, Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015 proceeded to second reading on December 2, 2015. Having only been introduced a month ago, this indicates that the Ontario Government is quickly moving forward with that plan.

Most important for employers are the amendments to the Occupational Health Continue Reading

New Sexual Harassment Laws Coming Soon to the Workplace

Posted in Human Rights, Occupational Health and Safety, Policies

On March 6, 2015, the Ontario Government published its plan aimed at addressing sexual violence and harassment in Ontario.  The document is titled, “It’s Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment” (the “Action Plan”).  The Action Plan has a lot to say about a very important subject and I encourage readers to review the entire document.  This post though is limited to the Government’s recommended changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) to deal with workplace sexual harassment.

Employers are already obligated to create a workplace harassment policy and to investigate harassment … Continue Reading

From the Desk of the HR Manager, November 2014

Holiday Parties

Posted in Occupational Health and Safety

Melissa Kennedy is a labour relations, employment and human resources specialist who assists clients with proactively managing compliance, risk and ensuring best practices are in place.

With the holiday season fast approaching, many organizations are in the midst of planning their annual holiday parties, meant to recognize the culmination of a year of hard work by employees and celebrate the holiday season. Although this time of year is marked with celebration and provides for a valuable team building opportunity, it can also bring with it particular obligations and potential liabilities for an employer.

When planning and hosting a holiday party, … Continue Reading

Employers Should Take Advantage of Human Rights Summary Hearings

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights

Summary Hearings at the Human Rights Tribunal – A Short History

A few years back, the human rights system in Ontario was overhauled. The Human Rights Commission was to no longer investigate complaints and refer them to the Human Rights Tribunal (if they had some merit).  All cases were to now go directly to the Tribunal for adjudication. Applicants (who are primarily employees) would have “direct access” to the Tribunal.

While the goal was to speed up the process, many employers soon found themselves forced to attend a hearing to defend frivolous complaints. The Tribunal responded by adopting a summary … Continue Reading

Wal-Mart (Still) Pays High Price for Failing to Investigate Employee’s Complaint

Posted in Employment Standards, Investigations

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision Boucher v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp., 2014 ONCA 419, is an important reminder to employers that failing to properly investigate allegations of harassment in the workplace can be incredibly costly.

Facts

Ms. Boucher was an Assistant Manager of a Wal-Mart retail location. After she refused to falsify a log book, the location’s Manager (Mr. Pinnock) became abusive towards her. Mr. Pinnock continuously belittled, humiliated and demeaned Ms. Boucher, often in front of co-workers, in the hopes that she would eventually quit.

Ms. Boucher tried to obtain help from Wal-Mart by bringing a … Continue Reading

Ontario Human Rights Commission Releases New Policy on Gender Identity and Gender Expression

Posted in Accommodation, Discrimination, Human Rights, Policies

On April 15, the Ontario Human Rights Commission (the Commission) published a new comprehensive policy entitled Policy on preventing discrimination because of Gender Identity and Gender Expression. According to the Commission, the policy

is a complete revision and update of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s (OHRC’s) original Policy on discrimination and harassment because of gender identity first published in 2000.

Its stated purpose is to discuss and promote understanding and awareness about trans people and their rights under the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and to help employers recognize and meet their legal obligations under the Code not … Continue Reading

“Genetic Characteristics” as a Prohibited Ground of Discrimination?

Posted in Discrimination, Human Rights

A recent private member’s bill introduced by a Liberal MPP in the Ontario legislature would add “genetic characteristics” as a prohibited ground of discrimination to the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code). As currently drafted, “genetic characteristics” would be defined as “genetic traits of an individual, including traits that may cause or increase the risk to develop a disorder or disease”.… Continue Reading

Your Organization Needs a Social Media Policy

Posted in Employee Obligations, Human Rights, Policies, Privacy, Social Media

More than 19 million Canadians check Facebook at least once per month and 14 million check every day. There are more than 200 million active users of Twitter, and around 400 million tweets sent daily. LinkedIn boasts 8 million Canadian users. These stats confirm what you probably already know: your employees are on social media. They are likely on social media multiple times a day, which means that they are likely using social media at work.… Continue Reading