Anyone in Alberta who shares his or her workplace with other people might have to endure with some indignities. While it remains playful and innocent, good-natured name-calling, teasing and harmless flirting, it might be acceptable. However, such behaviour can become offensive in an instant, changing conditions from pleasant to hostile work environments.
Employers must prevent the escalation of such conditions by dealing with it effectively when the first sign of potential bullying or harassment appears. If the employer allows such behaviour to persist, it may constitute a failure to fulfill an obligation to the workforce. As soon as employees feel unsafe or unwelcome in their work environments, it is a sign that the workplace has become poisoned.
Workers should report any abusive, menacing or degrading behaviour. Torment can include intimidation, victimization or other forms of bullying, as well as unsolicited flirting, physical advances, crude jokes and other sexual harassment. Physical harassment that includes threats of violence, rough play or unsafe contact and discrimination of any form is prohibited under Canadian laws.
Dealing with lawsuits or claims about violations of human rights can be daunting for all the involved parties. This is where the skills of a lawyer with extensive experience in dealing with cases involving hostile work environments come in. In Alberta, both the worker claiming to be tormented, and his or her employer are entitled to legal counsel to advocate for him or her in the ensuing legal proceedings. Regardless of whom the lawyer represents, the goal will always be to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.