Harassment of any kind has no place in the workplace. Employers are legally obligated to ensure the work environment is safe and free from any form of workplace harassment or workplace sexual harassment. With Bill 132 coming into effect September 8, 2016, it is important for you to be aware of the expanded definition of harassment along with key changes under the legislation. Proper policies and training need to be in place to protect your employees and your organization against potential claims.

It is important to be proactive when it comes to dealing with workplace harassment issues. Claims of a “poisoned work environment” often stem from companies failing to  exercise proper “due diligence” after receiving a harassment complaint.  To satisfy their obligations, employers must make every effort to deal with, and resolve harassment complaints in a reasonable and timely manner. If possible, it is always best to try and stop potential problems before they even happen.

The amendments under Bill 132 are designed to fill in some of the gaps left by the previous Bill 168. For example, Bill 132 amends the current definitions of harassment in the workplace to include a specific definition of “workplace sexual harassment”. As a result, a number of clauses in the current Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) will be amended, creating additional obligations for employers, including measures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment to person other than a supervisor, if they are the alleged harasser.

Key takeaways for employers:

If you or your company have any questions or require assistance complying with Bill 132, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We can help ensure you are compliant by creating proper policies and programs for your organization, performing any necessary workplace investigations, and dealing with all harassment issues both proactively and reactively to ensure due diligence.

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