Harassment and Violence in the Workplace

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

What is workplace harassment and violence?

Harassment and violence are considered workplace hazards under Saskatchewan’s Occupational Health and Safety Regulations. They are defined as:

Harassment: any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action, or gesture that is based on race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin.

Violence:  the attempted, threatened, or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause an injury. This includes any threatening statement or behaviour that gives a worker reasonable cause to believe the worker is at the risk of an injury.

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, including sexual harassment and domestic violence, to investigate when complaints are made, and to take disciplinary action when necessary.

Part of employers’ obligations is their duty to educate workers on how to recognize signs of danger, respond in these situations, and report any incidents. If an employee experiences violence or harassment, employers are required to advise them on their treatment options and if they seek treatment during work hours, employers must continue providing them their regular wages and benefits.

Preventative Measures

Employers must also develop separate violence and harassment prevention plans. The plans must include a written prevention policy and prevention procedures that must be easily accessible to workers in paper or electronic formats.

Hazard assessments are also an important factor in eliminating risk in the workplace. These must involve, if available, a joint worksite 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.