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Employers have a legal obligation (by coded legislation and workplace policy) to provide a workplace free from harassment. This obligation extends to protecting employees from harassing acts committed by other employees, management personnel, agents of the company, and clients or customers.
Many times, both employees and employers are not clear about what their obligations are and what harassment may actually mean. Furthermore, many people who have been subjected to harassing behaviour are not aware of what they can do to remedy the situation. The causes and forms of harassment can be wide-ranging and complex in nature. The same behaviour may be inoffensive to one person and deeply offensive and intimidating to another. Unintentional or misinterpreted behaviour may cause feelings of harassment. In any circumstance, left unresolved harassment allegations may leave an employer open to litigation and certainly an unhealthy work environment.
Harassment is the improper conduct by an individual, that is directed at and offensive to another individual in the workplace, including at any event or any location related to work, and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm. It comprises objectionable act(s), comment(s) or display(s) that demean, belittle, or cause personal humiliation or embarrassment, and any act of intimidation or threat. It also includes harassment within the meaning of the Canadian Human Rights Act (i.e. based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction).
Our team at CIS has conducted over 850 workplace harassment investigations relating to all forms of harassment including Workplace Bullying, Respect in the Workplace and Sexual Harassment.
Consultation regarding workplace harassment investigations is a complimentary service offered by CIS.
The CIS team of experts will also work with you to develop Workplace Bullying and Harassment Training specific to the needs of your organization.
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