Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

In December 2017, the Government of Alberta passed Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans. The Act came into effect on June 1, 2018, making amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS Act). This will help maintain safety by clearly defining sexual harassment in the workplace and protecting against violence and harassment at work.

What is sexual violence?

In addition to harassment and violence in the workplace, employers must also consider sexual violence as a workplace hazard. Under the OHS Act, sexual violence refers to:

“Any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, or other act directed against a worker’s
sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in a workplace or work-related setting.”

As an employer, it is your duty to ensure that your employees are not subject to, or participate in, violence or harassment in the workplace.

Employer Responsibility for Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

As an employer, it is your duty to:

  • Protect your employees’ mental and physical health with a violence and harassment prevention plan
  • Review and revise, if necessary, your prevention plan at least every three (3) years
  • Provide competent supervisors and training to your staff
  • Investigate any employee complaints of violence or harassment in the workplace
  • Take appropriate actions to ensure your employees are safe from violence and harassment at work, including treatment for anyone harmed

Are you concerned about handling sexual harassment in the workplace? Start by reviewing your workplace policy and revising any documentation to properly address violence and harassment at work. Provide the policy in writing to employees to use as a management tool and reference point to handle related situations at work.

Don’t wait for sexual harassment in the workplace to happen. Call for advice.

Employer Line is dedicated to supporting small business owners with advice on all employment-related and HR matters. Our free employer helpline is available to help address your concerns right away. Don’t wait for a situation involving sexual harassment between employees to get worse. Call us today: 1 (888) 219-8767.