Wilson Vukelich LLP
Workplace Violence and Harassment: Employer Fined $70K
March 2017 Employer Alert
Last month, an Ontario employer was fined $70,000 (totaling $87,500 with the fine surcharge) after failing to satisfy its obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”) in regard to workplace violence and harassment.
Under the OHSA, Ontario employers have several obligations in regard to workplace violence and harassment. These obligations include conducting a workplace violence risk assessment, putting into place workplace violence and harassment policies and procedures, and providing workplace training on violence and harassment.  In September 2016, the harassment obligations were expanded.  The term “harassment” now expressly includes “workplace sexual harassment”. Further, workplace harassment procedures now have content requirements that are similar to those for workplace violence procedures.
In a recent case, a security company was issued orders by the Ministry to comply with its workplace violence and harassment obligations.  While the company then satisfied some of the orders, the Ministry concluded that not all of the orders had been complied with and charges were laid. In review of the evidence heard at the hearing, the Court found the company guilty on seven counts and issued a cumulative fine of $70,000.
This decision should be considered a clear message that the Ministry of Labour intends to ensure compliance.  All employers should make sure that they have satisfied their workplace violence and harassment obligations, and have updated their harassment policies and procedures since September.
We regularly assist employers by preparing their workplace harassment and violence policies and procedures, by providing workplace training, and by conducting workplace investigations. For more information or for assistance with satisfying your obligations, please contact our firm.
Dan Condon

Christine Ashton

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