Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

In Manitoba, employers are responsible for providing employees with a safe and healthy workplace. This means employees must be protected from workplace hazards, including harassment and violence. Do you know what obligations you have as an employer under Occupational Health and Safety legislation?

What is workplace harassment and violence?

The Workplace Safety and Health Act considers harassment and violence to be workplace hazards. In the Act, harassment is defined as objectionable conduct that creates a risk to the health of a worker. This can include bullying, sexual advances, or any behaviour that the perpetrator ought to reasonably know would cause offense or humiliation.

Violence is defined as an action or attempt to cause physical or psychological harm to a person at the workplace or in a work-related environment. This definition includes threats and domestic sexual violence that happens in the workplace.

Employer Responsibility

Employers must do what is reasonably possible to protect their workers from hazards in the workplace. It is their duty to define harassment and violence, investigate complaints, and take disciplinary action when necessary.

Part of employers’ obligations is their duty to educate workers on how to recognize signs of danger. And how to respond in these situations or report incidents.

Employers must:

  • Develop and implement a written policy to prevent harassment in the workplace.
  • Develop and implement a written policy to prevent violence in the workplace.
  • Ensure that workers comply with both policies.
  • Post a copy of the policy in a conspicuous place at the workplace.

Preventative Measures

Employers must also prepare a report compiling any incidents of violence. This report should include:

  • Results of any investigation.
  • Recommendations for control measures or changes to policy,
  • Control measures that were implemented as a result.

Hazard assessments are also an important factor in reducing risk in the workplace. These must involve, if available, a joint work site health and safety committee or a health and safety representative.

Need help drafting a harassment and violence policy?

Ask our advisors for help. We can assist you in developing prevention policies and programs by providing you with documentation that is tailored to your unique business needs. 1 (888) 207-0657.