It is now November! A month known for Remembrance Day, American Thanksgiving, Black Friday sales, Movember-Moustaches, and the countdown to the holiday season. As we approach the end of the year, the team at Kasa wants to provide a refresher on workplace violence and harassment prevention.
According to a 2020 survey conducted by the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and researchers from the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, 70% of workers have experienced some form of violence and harassment at work. Even more staggering than that statistic is the alarming fact that 88% of workers who experienced harassment and violence were “transferred, suspended, fired, or lost a shift” as a result of reporting their incidents.
It is vital to ensure that your company has a violence and prevention program that allows employees to feel safe in the workplace. It is also crucial that employees feel comfortable reporting these incidents with confidence that it will not cause negative repercussions for them moving forward.
What is Workplace Violence and Harassment?
According to Part II of the Canada Labour Code, violence and harassment is defined as, “any action, conduct or comment, including of a sexual nature, that can reasonably be expected to cause offence, humiliation or other physical or psychological injury or illness to an employee, including any prescribed action, conduct or comment.”
What are some examples of Workplace violence and Harassment?
• Aggressive or threatening behaviour
• Verbal threats or abuse
• Physical assault
• Spreading malicious rumours or gossip about an individual or a group
• Socially excluding or isolating someone
• Damaging, hiding or stealing someone’s personal belongings or work equipment
• Persistently criticizing, undermining, belittling, demeaning or ridiculing someone
• Swearing at someone or using inappropriate language toward them
• Using the Internet to harass, threaten or maliciously embarrass someone
• Using the Internet to harass, threaten, or exploit someone sexually
• Abusing authority
• Conduct, comment, bullying or action because of someone’s race, religious beliefs, colour, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status or family status.
• Making abusive or derogatory remarks or jokes about someone’s gender, gender identity or gender expression, sex or sexual orientation.
• Displaying offensive posters, cartoons or images of a sexual nature
• Sending inappropriate electronic communications (for example, sexually explicit emails)
Reporting, Investigating, and Preventing Workplace Violence and Harassment.
Every worker must work in compliance with their company’s policy and the supporting procedures. All workers are required to raise any concerns about harassment and to report any incidents to the appropriate representative.
Companies must investigate and take appropriate corrective actions to address all incidents and complaints of workplace harassment in a fair, respectful, and timely manner. They also have the responsibility to protect the privacy of all concerned as much as possible.
Companies should not disclose the circumstances related to an incident of harassment or the names of the parties involved (including the complainant, the person alleged to have committed the harassment, and any witnesses) except where necessary to investigate the incident, to take corrective action, to inform the parties involved in the incident of the results of the investigation and corrective action taken, or as required by law.
No workers should be penalized, reprimanded or in any way criticized when acting in good faith while following company policy and the supporting procedures for addressing situations involving workplace violence and harassment. The violence and harassment prevention policy should not discourage a worker from exercising their right under any other law, including the Alberta Human Rights Act.
To prevent workplace violence and harassment you should inform and instruct your employees about the policy. Everyone in the workplace, including the employer, must participate in training about harassment and violence. Ensure you are doing everything in your power to create a safe environment for your team!
You and your employees can help create a respectful workplace by:
•Listening and allowing others to speak
•Being supportive, cooperative, and inclusive
•Expressing differences of opinion constructively and professionally
•Respecting professional boundaries
If you have any questions on how to implement a strong workplace violence and harassment prevention plan or policy don’t hesitate to reach out to your Kasa Safety Advisor. We are always more than happy to help!