Atlantic Employers’ Counsel – Fall 2015
THE EDITORS’ CORNER
Trick, Treat or … Taunt? Workplace Bullying and Harassment
Fall has arrived! The leaves are changing colours, families are stockpiling Halloween candy (some of which will actually last long enough to be distributed on the 31st), and warm knitwear is being dragged back out of the closet. But what is happening at your workplace? Are all of your employees “playing nice” with each other or do you have some ghouls in the group?
BULLYING ISN’T JUST FOR KIDS ANYMORE: ACTUALLY, IT NEVER REALLY WAS…
The recognition that bullying occurs far beyond the playground is now so widespread that an entire episode of The Simpsons was dedicated to the topic earlier this year. However, despite the recognition of its occurrence, even the most seasoned human resources professionals often still shy away from dealing with serious interpersonal conflicts between coworkers or between superiors and subordinates.
WHEN HARASSMENT IS NOT HARASSMENT
There is more and more discussion today about harassment and bullying in the workplace. This has led to assertions of harassment and bullying in situations even where the claims are unwarranted. Discipline is one of the most frequent areas where we see claims of harassment from employees – employees claim that they are being harassed but managers feel they are simply doing their job.
TOP 10 CONSIDERATIONS FOR WORKPLACE (AND THEREABOUTS) SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
Over the past year Jian Ghomeshi went from being the “King of Spain” to eating “Humble Pie” (if you are too young/old to know what this is referring to, search Moxie Früvous). Whether it’s the CBC or Bill Cosby, issues of sexual misconduct have been dominating the headlines. Even off-duty conduct is up for scrutiny – consider the worker who yells “FHRITP” to a reporter during a live broadcast or heckles a female comedian off the stage during a work party.
FALSE/UNFOUNDED ALLEGATIONS: WHAT ABOUT THE UNSUBSTANTIATED COMPLAINTS?
As long as there are harassment and respectful workplace policies that provide employees an opportunity to file complaints against their fellow employees, there will be, periodically, false or unfounded allegations. Employers can put themselves in a better position to avoid the liability associated with such false or unfounded allegations if they abide by the following:
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