Ridout Barron


Lack of harassment policies can cost employers

Here in Canada, it is the responsibility of every employer to provide a safe and healthy work environment for employees. Of course, as some Alberta residents can attest, workplace harassment and violence is still very much an issue for many workplaces both here and across the nation. The legal ramifications for employers who do not implement policies to address these issues can be far-reaching. 

The Ministry of Labour has been cracking down on employers who do not conform to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) in creating and implementing programs and policies to help make their workplaces safer. In one recent case, a security company faced a fine of some $70,000 after it was determined the company was not complying with OHSA standards. This came on the heels of a Ministry-run inspection due to an injury suffered at the workplace. 

While the company was called to task for its failure to implement proper protocols, it was also required to do so moving forward. When it was discovered that the company did not comply, it was fined $10,000 for each infraction. The case involving this company brings into stark relief the responsibility of the employer to understand and address harassment and violence in the workplace. In addition to facing legal repercussions, it also faces reputational damage from injured employees and other backlash. 

While it is true Alberta employers are held to this standard, the case also highlights that some companies are not as proficient as they should be in combatting harassment and violence. In similar cases, it is possible for employees who feel victimized to seek external legal support. The help of an experienced employment attorney can help to further shed light on this troubling issue and support victims. 

Source: mondaq.com, "Failure To Implement Workplace Harassment And Violence Policies Can Be Costly For Employers", Michael Torrance and Maxwell Radway, March 29, 2017

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