Leader Guide Preview
In December 2009, the Ontario Government passed Bill 168, changing the Occupational Health and Safety Act. All employers with more than 5 workers will be required to conduct workplace violence risk assessments, and to reassess this risk as required. Employers must develop and post workplace violence and harassment policies, review them at least once a year, and develop a program to implement the policies.
Under Bill 168, workplace violence is:
The exercise of, or an attempt to exercise, physical force against a worker in a workplace that causes, or could cause physical injury to a worker. This includes a statement, or behaviour that is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force that could cause physical injury.
Types of Violence and Harassment
Behaviour that can be considered violent or harassing includes: yelling, spreading rumors, throwing things, arguments, malicious pranks, verbal abuse, bullying, pushing, swearing, physical assault, vandalism, theft, arson, sabotage, rape, sexual assault, and murder.
Workplace harassment can include: Unwelcome remarks, jokes, offensive gestures, innuendoes, taunting, leering, practical jokes, inappropriate physical contact; displaying or transmitting pornographic, racist, derogatory pictures or other offensive material; Mimicking or teasing; Condescending behaviour that undermines self-respect; and, refusing to converse or work with a worker because of their race or ethnic background.
Behaviours that are seen as personal or psychological harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Deliberately cutting a co-worker out of communications, such as not returning emails or phone calls, not sending relevant emails or passing on important information, or otherwise sabotaging a person;
- Ignoring a co-worker by giving them the silent treatment, bringing refreshments for everyone except the targeted co-worker, or similar exclusions;
- Making up new rules for a targeted person, while exempting others;
- Any attempt to embarrass or humiliate another worker by using inappropriate comments or jokes.
It is important to understand that a supervisor or manager, who provides direction, counsel, discipline, or performance reviews as part of his or her job, is not considered to be harassing their workers.