Many workers in Alberta might have become more aware of their rights after the former NDP government overhauled occupational health and safety codes and employment standards. New legislation spelled out new rules related to workplace harassment and violence. This made workers aware of the process by which such incidents could be reported anonymously.
During the 2017-2018 period, 315 employment standard violations were reported. With the anonymous tip line in place, almost three times that number, 811 incidents, were reported in the 2018-2019 work year. The Department of Labour reportedly took several steps to improve the monitoring of complaints and also resolving issues.
These steps included the appointment of 32 employees as employment standards monitors along with 17 officers in the occupational health and safety department. These officers were tasked with conducting inspections at various workplaces, many of which are unannounced to ensure no staging takes place. Although the combination of enforcement and education created an awareness about the rights of both employers and employees, there might be unanswered questions when disputes arise.
Creating an anonymous tip line has proved to bring many violations of labour standards to light, but what happens after the transgression was reported? Workers might be concerned that their reports might no longer be anonymous once action is taken to right the wrongs. In such cases, it makes sense to consult with an experienced lawyer who is up to date with regulated employment standards of Alberta and skilled in protecting the rights of victims of workplace harassment and violence. On the contrary, employers who have to deal with alleged violations could also seek legal counsel to protect their rights.