PURPOSE

Northwest has a duty to ensure the health and safety of its workers, and as a result, must take all reasonable steps, where possible, to prevent or otherwise minimize, workplace bullying and harassment in accordance with OHS Regulations. 

DEFINITION

Harassment/ Bullying is any single incident or repeated incidents of unwelcome conduct, comment, or action by a person, that the person knows or ought reasonably to know will or would cause offence or humiliation to a worker, or adversely affects the worker’s health and safety. 

This includes conduct, comments, bullying or actions because of race, religious beliefs, colour, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income, family status, gender, gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation, and a sexual solicitation or advance, but excludes any reasonable conduct of an employer or supervisor related to the normal management of workers or a work site.

POLICY

Northwest is committed to a bullying and harassment free environment. In keeping with this policy, Northwest prohibits any employee from engaging in any act either on company premises or during the performance of work-related duties that:

  • Threatens the safety of an employee, the public and/or customer. 
  • Affects the health, life, or well-being of an employee and/or customer. 
  • Threatening, intimidating, coercing, harassing, or assaulting an employee or customer.
  • Sexually harassing an employee or customer. 
  • Carrying weapons on company property, or concealing a weapon on company property. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

Supervisors and Managers are responsible to:

  • Act respectfully towards other individuals while at work and participating in any work-related activity;
  • Develop workplace arrangements that minimize the risk of workplace bullying and harassment;
  • Ensure that this policy is explained to all employees that you supervise or manage;
  • Identify training needs for employees;
  • Ensure that employees understand who to contact regarding concerns about the policy or when reporting an incident.
  • Train employees during orientation and during ongoing safety meetings

Employees are responsible to:

  • Act respectfully towards other individuals while at work and not engage in bullying and harassment of others; 
  • Report incidents to a supervisor or manager as the situation warrants; and
  • Co-operate with any efforts to investigate and resolve matters arising under this policy.

REPORTING PROCEDURE

  1. Prior to filing a formal report of the incident, a person subjected to workplace bullying or harassment (The Complainant) should let their objections to the behaviour be known to the alleged (The Respondent) directly or with the assistance of a third party.
  2. A Complainant may ask for support from their manager to communicate their objections to the incident and/or to prepare and submit a formal complaint if they choose.
  3. The Complainant should carefully record details of the incident including the date and time of the incident, the nature, and names of people who may have witnessed the incident. This document is the Complainant’s personal record and property.
  4. The Complainant may choose to file a formal complaint that documents their concerns to the Director of Health, Safety and Environment.

CONFIDENTIALITY

Strict confidentiality is required to properly investigate an incident and to offer appropriate support to all parties involved. Any individual who becomes aware of an incident should not disclose the details of the incident to any third party without prior consultation with the Complainant. Gossiping about an incident seriously undermines the privacy of all parties involved and will not be tolerated. Those with questions or concerns about an incident should speak to the Director of Health, Safety and Environment.

INVESTIGATION

1. Upon receipt of a formal complaint of workplace bullying or harassment the Director of Health, Safety and Environment will determine whether an investigation will be pursued, and will

  • Advise the Respondent of the investigation and nature and specifics of the complaint;
  • Advise the Complainant of the investigation; and
  • Assign the investigation to an internal or external person to investigate.

2. The investigator will

  • Advise all parties to the investigation that they may have representation;
  • Conduct the investigation in accordance with the principles of natural justice; and
  • Explore all allegations by interviewing the Complainant, the Respondent, and others    who may have knowledge of the incident(s) or circumstances that led to the complaint, or are responsible for the workplace. 

3. The investigator may make a finding of

  • Sufficient or insufficient evidence to support a finding of violation of this policy, or
  • No violation of this policy.

4. The investigator must prepare a written report of the investigation’s findings, and forward that report to the Director of Health, Safety and Environment within thirty (30) working days from the Respondent being advised of the complaint.

5. The Director of Health, Safety and Environment should make a decision whether to dismiss or act upon the report from the investigator within thirty (30) working days of receiving the report and advise the Complainant and Respondent in writing of the outcome.

CORRECTIVE ACTION AND DISCIPLINE

1. If the Director of Health, Safety and Environment decides to act on the report from the investigator the following conditions should be considered when determining corrective action:

  • The impact of the incident on the Complainant;
  • The nature of the incident;
  • The degree of aggressiveness and physical contact;
  • The period of time and frequency of the incidents;
  • The vulnerability of the Complainant.

2. The following corrective actions may be considered depending on the particular incident and the factors in the previous paragraph:

  • Apology;
  • Training;
  • Referral to an assistance program;
  • Reassignment or relocation;
  • Report to a professional body;
  • Suspension;
  • Discharge; and / or
  • Legal action.

RECORD KEEPING

The documents corresponding to the investigation will be kept on file in a secure location, separate from the Complainant and Respondent’s personal files, for two years from the date of the incident to be readily available for inspection by anyone directly affected by the incident, or an Occupational Health and Safety Officer.

The investigation report should be kept in a secure location for longer than two years when it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances. Examples of reasonable circumstances include: to wait for the expiration of a limitation period, for the program manager to evaluate the workplace bullying and harassment policy, and to monitor persons of ongoing concern.

A copy of the policy is posted and located in the driver’s manual to ensure that is readily available for reference by workers. 

EVALUATION

This policy will be reviewed on an annual basis, when an incident occurs, if the joint work site health and safety committee recommends a review of the plan. This will ensure that it conforms to any changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Code and Regulations and that it continues to address the needs of the firm regarding workplace bullying and harassment.