Above L-R: Minister Gray, Geoffrey Person, CHPR, Peter Dugandzic, CHPR, Minister McLean, Thea Bowring, Empress Ale House, Barry Cavanaugh, ASET and Tara Chahl, ASET. – GOA Photo
by Morinville News Staff
Clear definitions of harassment, including sexual and domestic violence, and increased protection from violence and harassment come into effect June 1 with Alberta’s updated Occupational Health and Safety laws.
The government says the new standards will better protect workers’ mental and physical health by requiring employers to develop violence and harassment prevention plans.
Under the new rules, any complaint of violence of harassment must be investigated by employers and they must ensure appropriate action is taken to keep employees safe and stop workplace violence and harassment.
“Working Albertans deserve a government that has their backs and is on their side,” said Minister of Labour Christina Gray in a release Monday. “These changes make it clear that harassment and violence, including sexual and domestic violence, have no place at work or anywhere else in our province. They also ensure employers and employees know they have a responsibility to prevent and address harassment, violence and bullying in the workplace.”
Workers bringing complaints forward will be protected from unfair reprisal, including termination, and employers will also be required to advise workers of treatment options available to them as victims of violence and harassment. Workers will be entitled to their wages and benefits while attending these programs.
The government says its legislation has three action areas: shifting the culture towards believing survivors, improving the response of Alberta’s social, health, justice and education systems to address sexual violence, and supporting individuals by funding frontline services for survivors and delivering education and prevention programs.