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A Policy on Psychological Harassment in the Workplace is Essential

The extensive reform of the Act respecting Labour Standards adopted on June 12, 2018 requires that employers adopt a policy on preventing psychological harassment and addressing complaints.

The measure is effective as of January 1, 2019, however, 50% of employees say that, to their knowledge, their organization does not have such a policy. What about your organization?

What is a harassment policy?

According to the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), the purpose of a corporate policy is to:

  • Communicate the employer’s commitment to prevent and stop psychological harassment;
  • Mobilize management and all employees of the organization around the objectives set.

Effective January 1, 2019, employers must adopt and make available to their employees a psychological harassment prevention and complaint processing policy that includes a section on behaviour that is expressed in the form of verbal comments, actions or gestures of a sexual nature.

Employers who fail to meet these obligations could be liable for all psychological or sexual harassment in their organization. It is therefore crucial that the right tools be implemented as quickly as possible.

How will a complaint be addressed?

The policy must set out how a potential complaint will be addressed and this must be given a prominent place in the policy. The process for making and investigating a complaint must be defined so that employees and managers know what to do when harassing behaviour is reported.

The policy must clearly set out the steps, person in charge of handling the complaint, mediation possibilities, preventive measures, etc. Employers should indicate that the process for reporting such behaviour is not designed to hamper reporting it.

Remember, while it is important to adopt a policy, it is just as important to:

  • Adequately inform all parties of the policy’s provisions;
  • Train managers regarding their role;
  • Make all employees aware of the importance of having a workplace that is free from all forms of harassment.

Our experts can support you in the process to develop a policy that meets the CNESST’s requirements, train your managers and communicate appropriate information to the employees.

When it comes to harassment, prevention is essential.

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