Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
A nursing home in Saint-Quentin, New Brunswick has hired and external investigator to look into staff allegations that the home’s executive director has subjected workers to a poisoned work environment with verbal abuse, harassment and intimidation.
The allegations against André Savoie of the Résidence Mgr. Melanson stem from a petition circulated by local physicians who were concerned about many employees of the home requesting time off and whether its residents were getting appropriate care. This led to numerous staff complaints about Savoié’s treatment of them, according to René Doucet, a national representative with the Canadian Union of Public Employees assigned to the Melanson home.
Doucet says over 200 complaints have been received. “It is not the nature of the compaints that is completely out of reason; it is the number of complaints that really sparked the interest of the board of directors for the nursing home.”
Many complaints accused Savoie of intimidating staff while being unresponsive to their concerns,” Doucet adds. “They are getting to the point where they are worried about their safety and security, but also that of the residents.”
The board of directors contacted the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Home for advice. Michael Keating, the executive director of the association, advised the board to launch an immediate investigation. The board has hired a retired former human-resources advisor with the provincial health authority and nursing home administrator to conduct the investigation, and interviews of employees at the nursing home began on November 03, 2016.
Savoie has been temporarily suspended while the investigation it taking place. He could face job termination if the investigation find merit in the employee’s allegations. “But that has to be a pretty serious type of thing for that to happen,” Keating adds.
In Ontario, the Ministry of Labour added sections 32.0.1 to 32.0.8 to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) to cover Violence and Harassment in the workplace. The legislation forced the employer to ensure that they had a violence and harassment policy in place and a plan to deal with the possible issues.
Here we have a healthcare facility sitting on a powder keg. The board felt it had to act after 200 complaints? Really? How about have complaint #1. No one did anything and the workplace environment became more hazardous. André Savoie probably felt that he had the support of the board so he kept up his alleged rein of terror.
200 complaints is 200 too many. I hope that investigation comes with multiple suggestions and recommendations which include a policy and procedure to deal with violence and harassment in the workplace.
Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.