Did you know that as of January 1, 2020, provincial regulations require that all employers have an up-to-date Respectful Workplace Policy? If your policy is not up to scratch, or non-existent, our upcoming workshop is for you.
On December 2 via Zoom, Brittany Keating, a labour and employment lawyer with McInnes Cooper, will walk participants through the new requirements, and provide guidance on what should be included in a harassment prevention plan, with special consideration given to the needs of arts organizations. She will also cover what constitutes harassment (and what doesn’t), what a Respectful Workplace Policy should do, and the consequences for not having one in place, among other topics.
We recently caught up with Brittany to learn more in advance of her session.
Business & Arts NL: What are a couple of the most important things that a Respectful Workplace Policy should include?
Brittany Keating: There are many statutory obligations and best practices when it comes to developing and maintaining a Respectful Workplace or Harassment Prevention Policy. Some of the key components that should be included are as follows:
· Define workplace harassment and provide examples;
· Include the employer’s policy statement regarding harassment in the workplace;
· Outline the rights and responsibilities of the employer, managers/supervisors and employees;
· Identify how an employee can report observations or experiences of bullying and harassment in the workplace; and
· Explain how the employer will investigate and deal with complaints of harassment, as well as how the outcome will be communicated to the parties.
Business & Arts NL: What are some of the potential implications/repercussions if an organization, entrepreneur, etc. doesn’t have such a policy in place?
BK: The Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Regulations were updated in January 2020 to include an obligation on employers to develop, implement and maintain a Harassment Prevention Plan in accordance with the Regulations. An employer’s failure to implement a policy that complies with the specific requirements contained in the Regulations may be a violation of the Province’s occupational health and safety legislation. Employers who do not have a Harassment Prevention Plan therefore risk exposing themselves to significant liability if convicted for non-compliance with the legislation (including corporate fines, personal fines and even jail time).
Business & Arts NL: If an organization hasn’t updated their policy in a while and needs to do so, what are some things they should keep in mind?
BK: The Regulations stipulate specific requirements that must be included in the Harassment Prevention Plan. This includes particular statements that must be included in the policy and procedural obligations regarding reporting, investigating and handling workplace harassment complaints. If you haven’t updated your policy since the new Regulations came into effect, your policy likely doesn’t comply with the legislative requirements. As such, it’s important to review your policy through the lens of the new Regulations and amend accordingly.
Workshop: Drafting a Respectful Workplace Policy
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 2 from 1-2pm
Location: Online via Zoom
Registration: Click here