HR – Notes from the Field

Domestic Violence and Respectful Workplace

The 2018 updates to the Occupational Health and Safety Code (the Code) included a section on an employer’s responsibility related to domestic violence. The wording from the Code is as follows:

“When an employer is aware that a worker is or is likely to be exposed to domestic violence at a work site, the employer must take reasonable precautions to protect the worker and any other persons at the work site likely to be affected.”

We recommend adding a section to your Respectful Workplace policy that includes wording to that effect, along with a statement about the employer providing appropriate and confidential support to the affected employee.

Additionally, we’ve realized that many employers are unaware that the 2018 additions to Employment Standards included an unpaid domestic violence leave of up to 10 days at a time.  https://www.alberta.ca/domestic-violence-leave.aspx

Harassment Prevention Plan

Many of our clients have successfully created or updated their Respectful Workplace policies to reflect the 2018 OHS legislative changes. They have also incorporated Respectful Workplace training throughout the organization per the legislative requirement.  It is important to note that in addition to your policy and training you require an harassment prevention plan which includes procedures.  Significant detail is outlined in the OHS Code.  We’re including the wording here for you:

390.4 (1) An employer must develop and implement a harassment prevention plan that includes a harassment prevention policy and harassment prevention procedures.

390.4 (2) The employer must develop and implement the harassment prevention plan in consultation with

(a) The joint work site health and safety committee or the health and safety representative, if the employer is required to establish a committee or designate a representative, or

(b) Affected workers, if the employer is not required to establish a committee or designate a representative.

Did you know that Cenera provides OHS Support through our extremely qualified roster of Associates?  We can assist with JHSC creation, management and OHS assessments and policy creation.

Alcohol and Drug Policy

Many of you have been updating your Alcohol and Drug Policies to include cannabis, both medical and recreational. Another area that has seen some change relates to accommodation of addiction or dependency as an illness. We’ve seen this type of clause become more prevalent following the Supreme Court of Canada in Stewart v. Elk Valley Coal Corp. (2017). It actually provides a level of protection for employers. We suggest you include a clause like the one below in your Policy.

The Duty to Accommodate extends only so far as the employer has been made aware of the obligation.  An employee who has a dependency on alcohol or drugs who does not disclose such dependency to the employer will be held accountable for any violations of the policy, whether or not the violation was related to dependency.  Post incident disclosure of dependency will not preclude disciplinary action on the basis of policy violation.

Please note that the information contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be considered legal advice. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. Should you choose to reach out to Cenera we would be happy to provide advice specific to your situation.

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