Ontario Rules for Violence and Harassment in the Workplace

Ontario employers will definitely want to be aware of the fact that no business is exempt from workplace violence and harassment. According to the Ontario Human Rights Code, all employers are required to prevent violence and harassment.

Violence and harassment in the workplace can not only cost employers a whole lot of money, but it can also have negative effects on the employees. Employees could begin to miss work, and this could increase costs of insurance, health care and legal fees.

Harassment in the workplace is defined as any comment or behavior that happens in the workplace that would not be welcomed by another employer. This could include:

  • Sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Comments or jokes that are found to be offensive
  • Passing around offensive photos
  • Making phone calls that are unwelcome or offensive
  • Comments that are degrading or threatening
  • Making obscene gestures
  • Spreading around rumors
  • Unwanted or unwelcome touching

Violence in the workplace is defined as physical force against another person that could cause an injury. It can also be defined as an attempt of physical force, or a threat of physical force that could cause an injury.

There are a variety of types of violence, including physical assault, sexual assault, harassment, threats, stalking and robbery, just to name a few.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all employers must have a policy in place that deals with harassment in the workplace. This policy must also be accompanied by a plan of action.It should include step by step procedures to follow when harassment takes place in the workplace, and also have requirements for investigating harassment complaints. This policy should always be given to the employees up front at the time of hire.