Bill 132, which we have been discussing for some time now, comes
into force in September, which is now less than two months away.
This amendment to the Occupational Health & Safety Act expands
upon some of the changes brought about by Bill 168 a few years
The Bill expands the definition of "Workplace
Harassment" to include (a) engaging in a course of vexatious
comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or
ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or (b) workplace
sexual harassment. The amendment also specifically notes that a
"reasonable action" taken by an employer or supervisor
relating to the management and direction of workers or the
workplace is not workplace harassment. The Bill also clarifies the
definition of "Workplace Sexual Harassment".
This legislation also empowers the Ministry to order that a
third party investigator be retained to conduct a third-party
investigation, at the employer's expense.
Much like Bill 168, Bill 132 requires that employers have
"programs" in place in addition to policies. In this
case, the programs must specify
how and to whom harassment is to be
reported and provide for reporting to someone other than the
employer if the harasser is the employer or supervisor of the
how allegations will be investigated
and dealt with;
how confidential information will be
treated (and, particularly, provide that information will not be
disclosed unless it is necessary to do so for purposes of the
investigation or discipline; and
how the complainant and accused will
be advised of the outcome of the investigation and any corrective
action to be taken.
In addition, the Bill requires that allegations of harassment be
investigated appropriately in light of the circumstances. This
legislation also empowers the Ministry to order that a third party
investigator be retained to conduct a third-party investigation, at
the employer's expense.
Finally, Bill 132 requires that employers provide training to
their staff on the workplace harassment policy and program in
Failure to comply with the new obligation can result in
liability. We are actively working with our employer clients to
update their policies and processes in this regard.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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