One of the clearest messages from the #MeToo movement has been that sexual harassers need to be held accountable for their actions. This message has resonated with employers and most now appreciate that they need to promptly investigate and appropriately address misconduct once they become aware of it. But employer obligations extend beyond remedial action and include, in Ontario and other jurisdictions, implementing preventative policies and educating employees on the policies.

However, a new US research report indicates that policies aren’t enough and employers need to pay attention to certain warning signs in the workplace to effectively stem sexual harassment. The report’s authors contend that organizational climate is the greatest determinant of sexual harassment occurring in a workplace. In fact, corporate culture can either encourage or discourage an employee to harass, according to the authors.
Continue Reading

The Ontario Superior Court recently pronounced that alleged acts of workplace sexual harassment, including alleged incidents occurring in the workplace, are not connected to employment but are separate matters: Watson v. The Governing Council of the Salvation Army of Canada. Further, the Court held that the employer’s release did not bar claims based on these allegations.
Continue Reading

In the recent decision of Humber River Regional Hospital and Ontario Nurses Association (“ONA”) (Cherubino Grievance), an Ontario arbitrator dismissed the union’s grievance alleging harassment by a supervisor and found that neither management duties nor the employer’s internal investigation process should be held to a standard of perfection.
Continue Reading

Social media has never been more popular and employers are facing a growing number of risks as a result. In our recent article, we provide guidance on dealing with social media as it impacts the workplace. In addition to outlining the prevailing risks, we suggest proactive steps to avoid issues before they occur. This article

Last month, key elements of Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016 (“Bill 132”), came into force. Employers are now required to have comprehensive policies and programs in place to address workplace harassment, along with detailed investigative procedures to be followed in response to complaints or incidents of harassment.

The latter requirement has led many employers to ask whether investigating is enough or if the employer can still be liable if the investigator gets it wrong.
Continue Reading

Key elements of Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2016 (“Bill 132”) come into force today, amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). As a result, employers are required to implement comprehensive policies, programs, and investigative procedures to address workplace harassment. Bill 132 also expands the definition of “workplace harassment” to include “workplace sexual harassment”.
Continue Reading

Ontario Legislature Passes Bill 132: What Employers Need to Know

Bill 132 will increase the obligations on employers to protect employees against workplace harassment. The Ontario Government recently passed Bill 132, Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act (Supporting Survivors and Challenging Sexual Violence and Harassment), 2015 and employers will need to comply with its requirements as of September 8, 2016.


Continue Reading