Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A group of employees at a Nova Scotia tissue bank have been awarded $10,000 after they were found to have been intimidated and harassed on the job.

The decision, by human rights arbitrator Susan Ashley, directs Halifax’s Capital District Health Authority (CDHA) to provide the employees not only the money, but a formal apology from the authority’s CEO.

Ashley’s ruling on December 11, 2007 follows a union grievance, filed two years ago by members of the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union and supported by at least 17 of about 25 tissue bank workers. The grievance alleges various complaints of harassment, intimidation and inappropriateness toward staff by former manager, Jim Mohr.

The employer must also compensate two workers — who were off work for a four-month period — if it can be determined the absences were the result of workplace harassment.

Citing an outside consultant’s investigation report, Ashley says alleged actions include sexual remarks about race and sexual orientation, intimidation through use of threatening voice tones or taunting regarding job security, and employment- related discrimination based on gender. “These issues have been brought to the attention of CDHA at least as far back as 2002 and, as yet, no action has been taken to ensure the employees are properly protected.”

My opinion

Bullies can be found almost anywhere; on the job, on the school yard, at home, anywhere. The world is full of them. Ontario has decided to place legislation in place to protect against harassment and violence in the workplace. If you have an issue concerning violence or harassment please review sections 32.0.1 to section 32.0.7 inclusive, of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. (OHSA)

In Ontario, you MUST have violence and harassment policies and a plan to deal with both issues. That means two different policies. If you do not, let your health and safety representative, health and safety coordinator, or a member of your health and safety committee know of your concerns. Your company must be compliant!

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP — Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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