Protecting Your Corporation From Liability: Anti Harassment Policies
One would think that in today’s age, harassment in the work place would not exist. This is not the case. An anti-harassment policy can save a company thousands in legal disputes. The anti-harassment policy lawyers at Kahane Law Office, In Calgary, Alberta help you to protect your company by drafting an anti-harassment policy that is custom suited to your company. Failing to protect employees can lead to claim against the company to the Human Rights Commission / Tribunal. In addition, our lawyers can help you educate your employees, and defend any claims that you may have.
Why Companies Need An Anti-Harassment Policy
Corporations that fail to protect their employees from harassment may be subject to human rights complaints. An anti-harassment policy demonstrates that the company takes harassment of its employees seriously. If an anti-harassment policy is properly drafted, put into effect and enforced, it may offer protection through a due diligence defense.
What Aspects Do Anti-Harassment Policies Help Protect
An anti-harassment policy is set up to protect individuals who work at the corporation from harassment that is based on physical or personal characteristics. It is important to note that this protection extends to people who associate with or are in a relationship with a person who may be classifies under one of the following groups. Examples of the characteristics protected in an anti-harassment policy include:
- Sex (includes breastfeeding parents and pregnant people)
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity
- Gender expression
- Whether or not you have children
- Relationship status (including married, single, widowed, divorced, separated or living with a person outside of marriage, Includes same-sex and opposite-sex relationships)
- Military or veteran status
- Place of origin
- Skin Colour
- Mental or physical disabilities
- Criminal Records if discharged or some provincial regulated crimes..
What is Harassment in The Workplace | Alberta Law
Many people do not understand what harassment in the work place means. Some well meaning people end up offside the law, but this does not excuse their behavior. An anti-harassment policy will make the definition of harassment clear.
Definition of Harassment
Any conduct, behavior words, attitude or approach the can be verbal or physical that is directed to or involves treating someone differently, creating a hostile or intimidating environment based on the above types of characteristics, is harassment. Harassment is not limited to company owners but can be any manager, supervisor or co-worker. An anti-harassment policy will also ensure that measures are in place to protect employees from harassment for contract workers, customers and clients.
Examples of Workplace Harassment
While harassment can take on many forms, an anti-harassment policy will address the most common. These include:
Verbal Abuse Harassment
Verbal abuse harassment includes insults, mocking, teasing, slurring, joking, advances, suggestive remarks, demands, ridiculing, discussions of a sexual nature, degrading any group or person based on the above noted individual characteristics. A single action or comment may be enough to be considered harassment in violation of an anti-harassment policy.
Physical Abuse Harassment
Physically abusive harassment includes physical contact, taunting, sexual advances, leering, physical demands, demands for dates, stalking, inappropriate stares, assaulting , refusal to work with, for or around an individual and showing inappropriate (related to any of the above characteristics) emails, websites, notes, or graphics.
Mechanisms For Protecting Employees
An anti-harassment policy must have a mechanism for protecting employees. It is not enough to have prohibitions from certain actions. There must be procedures and consequences in an anti-harassment policy for dealing with violations.
The mechanisms for dealing with violations in an anti-harassment policy must include:
- Ways for reporting violations
- Protocols for investigating violations
- Consequences for violations of an anti-harassment policy
- Consequences for any retaliation for reporting a violation
- Confidentiality of complainant and victim
An anti-harassment policy should also address consensual relationships. Romance can and does occur in the workplace. Consensual relationships must be non-forced, voluntary and welcome by both parties. There should be policies in place to deal with these situations so that such a relationship does not constitute harassment. Any consensual relationships between individuals having authority over the other, must not give advantages or disadvantage over that other employees during or after the relationship. This types of consensual relationship are generally considered inappropriate.
Finding Anti-Harassment Policy Lawyers in Calgary, Alberta
The anti-harassment policy lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, Alberta can help with drafting, and implementing your anti-harassment policy. We can be reached toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 (or 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta), or email us directly here.