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Violence & Harassment

Violence and HarassmentWhat is workplace violence and harassment?
Workplace violence is defined as

  • the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,
  • an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker, or
  • a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker

Workplace harassment is defined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act as “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.”

What the law says
The OHSA protects workers by setting specific duties and requirements for provincially regulated employers (Section 32.0.1 to 32.0.7). For example, such employers must assess the risks of workplace violence in their particular workplaces and develop ways to control the risks. They must also have a policy to prevent workplace violence and harassment and programs that implement the policy. The OHSA describes these and other requirements in detail.

How workplace violence or harassment can affect your business
The threat of workplace violence or harassment poisons the work environment. It sabotages productivity and undermines a company’s culture. It hurts a business financially because of the costs of violence-related injuries, government fines, disrupted work and decreased productivity. It affects the employer’s relationship with its employees and it can damage the company’s reputation with clients as well as its employee retention and recruitment efforts.

What can you do?

  • Prepare policis on preventing workplace violence and harassment.
  • Develop and maintain programs to implement the policies
  • Assess the risks of workplace violence based on the nature of the workplace and type of work.
  • Develop measures and procedures to control the risks
  • If you’re aware of the potential for domestic violence, take reasonable precautions to protect workers who are at risk of physical injury
  • Alert certain workers to the risk of workplace violence from persons with a history of violent behaviour

Sector Specific Information

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services

Whatever your industry—we’ve got you covered. Resources are available to help firms in the agricultural, manufacturing or services industry sectors.

E-Courses

(ON) Developing Your Workplace Violence and Harassment Program in Ontario (2 hours)
Learn how to comply with the requirements of OHSA regarding workplace violence & harassment.
Price:$160.00
Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (English) (1 hour)
This course helps frontline supervisors, workers and anyone else with an interest in workplace safety develop a clear understanding of what workplace violence is, the consequences of workplace violence and preventive measures that can be taken.
Price:$80.00
Violence in the Workplace: Recognize the Risk and Take Action (French) (1 hour)
This course helps frontline supervisors, workers and anyone else with an interest in workplace safety develop a clear understanding of what workplace violence is, the consequences of workplace violence and preventive measures that can be taken.
Price:$80.00
Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (English) (1.5 hours)
This course introduces managers, supervisors and employees to the key components of an effective workplace violence prevention program.
Price:$100.00
Violence in the Workplace: Establish a Prevention Program (French) (1.5 hours)
This course introduces managers, supervisors and employees to the key components of an effective workplace violence prevention program.
Price:$100.00

Webinars

Are You Ready for the MOL Manufacturing Blitz?
This new and advanced claims management webinar series will provide the process to become successful in case management and be financially competitive. This webinar is held for two hours each day, on three consecutive days.
Price:N/A

Products

Certification Part Two - Violence Hazards
This Certification Part Two hazard module is focused on recognizing, assessing and controlling violence hazards in the workplace.
Price:$33.00

Downloads

Employee Risk Assessment Questionnaire
Complete this questionnaire to determine your risk of workplace violence.
351 KB pdf

Articles

Employer's investigation was a reprisal, adjudicator rules

An internal investigation conducted after an employee appealed a right to refuse decision has been deemed a reprisal by an arbitrator.

Such reprisals violate provincial occupational health and safety acts and the Canada Labour Code. They also risk disengaging employees and undermining productivity. The result can be chaos for workplaces following just-in-time production schedules, says Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS) consultant Gordon Leffley.

Jul 31, 2013
More workers feeling bullied, study finds
An online survey of 4,000 full-time U.S. workers reports an increase in bullying compared to a similar survey conducted last year.
Oct 18, 2012
Protecting workers from domestic violence – the #2 cause of workplace fatalities among U.S. women
While U.S. workplace fatalities have fallen 27% since 1992, workplace homicides among women increased 13% in 2010 alone, say researchers from NIOSH and West Virginia University. "Personal relations" came in a close second to "criminal intent" as the most prevalent type of homicide. This research reinforces the critical role of workplaces in protecting women from violence, including domestic violence at work. Learn more about the study results, challenges facing employers, and available solutions.
Jul 24, 2012
Over-qualified immigrants at risk of poorer mental health
Many recent immigrants end up in jobs for which they are over-qualified, putting them at risk of poorer mental health within a short period of time, according to a recent study from the Institute for Work & Health. The study explored just how common over-qualification is among new immigrants to Canada, and how it affects their general and mental health.
Jul 28, 2011