Employers: Workplace harassment and violence occurrence – Resolve with the complainant
Before following the steps to resolve an occurrence with your employee, ensure that you have read the definition of harassment and violence and definitions of key terms.
3. Resolve with the complainant
Whenever a notice of occurrence is made, as an employer you have an obligation to resolve it. You must follow these steps to resolve the occurrence with the complainant.
When you or the designated recipient receives a notice of occurrence, inform the employee who is the object of the occurrence (the principal party) within 7 days that:
- you received their notice of occurrence, or
- they were identified as the object of an occurrence of harassment and violence in a notice of occurrence provided by a witness
If the principal party or a witness wishes to make a complaint orally, you must fill out a notice of occurrence form on their behalf to document the occurrence. You are encouraged to develop a form that your employees can use to notify occurrences or you can use this sample notice of occurrence template. The form must contain:
- the name of the principal party and responding party, if known
- the date of the occurrence, and
- a detailed description of the occurrence
In your official response to the notice of occurrence to the principal party, inform them of the following:
- their notice of occurrence has been received or that they have been named or identified as the principal party in a notice of occurrence provided by a witness
- how they can access the workplace harassment and violence prevention policy
- each step of the occurrence resolution process, and
- they may be represented during the resolution process (such as, by a family member, colleague, friend, union representative, or other support person)
You or the designated recipient must set up a meeting with the principal party (in person, virtually, phone, etc.) within 45 days of receiving the notice of occurrence to begin negotiated resolution. You, the designated recipient and the principal party must make every reasonable effort to resolve the occurrence through this process.
As part of negotiated resolution, you or the designated recipient will jointly review with the principal party the notice of occurrence against the definition of harassment and violence. You or the designated recipient is required to proceed with the resolution process if:
- you or designated recipient and the principal party cannot agree on whether the occurrence falls under the definition of harassment and violence, and
- the principal party wishes to proceed with the resolution process
You must complete the resolution process in a transparent manner within 1 year of receiving the notice of occurrence.
If the occurrence is not resolved through negotiated resolution, you must give the principal party the option of seeking resolution through conciliation and/or an investigation. These options may run parallel to continued efforts under negotiated resolution.
If the principal party chooses to proceed with conciliation
Both the principal party and the responding party will have to jointly agree to participate in conciliation. Both will also have to agree on who will act as the conciliator.
If the principal party chooses to proceed with investigation
You or the designated recipient must provide the principal party and the responding party with notice that an investigation will be carried out. You can appoint an investigator from a list of investigators that has been jointly developed with the following (depending on the size of your workplace):
- policy committee
- workplace committee, or
- health and safety representative
If you do not have a jointly developed list of investigators as above, then you or the designated recipient are required to jointly decide with the principal and responding party on who will act as the investigator. You must jointly reach a decision within 60 days starting when you or the designated recipient provided notice of an investigation.
If you or designated recipient, the principal party and the responding party cannot agree on the investigator within 60 days after the day on which you or designated recipient provided the notice of an investigation, you can select a qualified investigator from the list provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
At the end of the investigation, the investigator will submit a report that provides:
- a general description of the occurrence
- the investigator’s conclusions, and
- the investigator’s recommendations to eliminate or minimize the risk of a similar occurrence in the future
Once you have received the investigator’s report you must meet with the workplace committee or the health and safety representative. Together you will determine which of the recommendations set out in the investigator’s report should be implemented.
As an employer, you must:
- record all occurrences of harassment and violence that have been reported to you, and
- report them to the Labour Program, even if they are resolved internally with the affected employee(s)
Investigation and reporting of hazardous incidents and deaths
If an employee dies because of an occurrence of harassment or violence, you must report to the Labour Program within 24 hours:
- the date and time of the occurrence
- a general description of the occurrence, and
- the name of the person who can be contacted to provide more information
- Requirements for employers to prevent harassment and violence in federally regulated workplaces
- Guide to Writing an Occupational Health and Safety Policy Statement
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, information on violence and bullying
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