Many people consider bullying to be a serious issue in schools, but workers can also be negatively affected by such behaviour. In Alberta, lawmakers are promising to introduce new workplace safety rules to help protect employees against psychological harassment. The new employment law will give employers increased responsibility and parameters for handling harassment cases, as well as giving employees legal recourse if their workplace is negligent in preventing bullying.
Experts say the government commitment will allow harassment-related sick leave to become a reportable injury under Alberta law. The law would also require employers to develop policies that would investigate and punish bullying behaviour. This will be the first significant update to Alberta’s occupational health and safety legislation since 1976.
Other Canadian provinces have already taken steps to officially list psychological harassment as a workplace hazard. While this does not completely halt bullying behaviour, it can help people feel safer at their places of employment when they know the issue is recognized by governing bodies. The decision to make this change comes on the heels of an Edmonton audit released earlier in November which showed where nearly one-fifth of city employees said they had experienced harassment.
Employment-related issues can cause major stress, especially for those who feel they are not in a position of power. Alberta’s commitment to these new rules will give employees more options to hold employers legally responsible for negligence and harassment in the workplace. Those with questions about these laws or their own situation should contact a lawyer.
Source: Edmonton Journal, “Province promises new protection against workplace bullies“, Elise Stolte, Nov. 20, 2017