16 Jun Violation of Human Rights: How Canadian employers must resolve these issues in the workplace
Human rights violations may occur in the workplace, and it is the responsibility of the employer to handle the situation to the best of their ability. Each employee must be treated equally under the law, and if there is a breach of their rights, it is necessary for them to know that their employer cares and will do what is in their power to resolve the situation.
Addressing the problem
The employer is responsible to first address the situation and respond in a timely fashion. The employer ought to respond in the following ways:
- Guarantee there is a complaint mechanism for the workplace,
- Ensure that the entirety of the workplace knows what discrimination entails and are educated on these matters,
- Understand the severity of the situation and must act quickly,
- Assure the employee feels comfortable and safe in the workplace,
- Explain the steps and procedures to the employee so they know what actions are being taken.
How to ensure personal safety for the employee (complainant)
The employee, at this time, will be in a position where their mental health could be vulnerable. It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure the employee feels safe in the workplace during a time where they could feel isolated and targeted by their colleagues.
The employer must assess the situation and act on what they believe would make the workplace more comfortable for the complainant. If there is a need, depending on the severity, to remove the harasser from the workplace, either a removal with the police or sending the harasser to a separate location must be addressed.
If the employer believes that the workplace has become a “poisoned environment”, then it is their job to act even if: the culture has not been poisoned by the employer personally, the employer has never witnessed another human rights violation, a formal complaint was not made, the harassment was practiced by someone other than an employee, or the harassment was completed anonymously and not addressed to any individual person. A workplace may become a “poisoned environment” when any one or more discriminatory issues occur. There is no specific definition for this term, but it can be compared to what we would consider hostile or even toxic.
If you have any further questions about how to promptly and accurately resolve human rights issues in your workplace, please contact KCY at LAW by filling in an online consultation request or contact us by phone at 905-639-0999 to book your consultation today.