Introduction

The Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD is committed to providing a working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect, fairness and dignity.

We will not tolerate any acts of violence and/or harassment and will take reasonable and practicable measures to prevent and protect employees from violence and/or harassment in the workplace.

As such, the Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD has adopted policies on Workplace Violence and Harassment which provide a framework for consistent reporting, response, documentation, investigation, follow-up, and education regarding all acts of, attempted acts of and threats of violence as well as acts of harassment that occur in the workplace.





What will you learn from this course?


You will learn:

• Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act Bill 168 – Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
• Bill 132 – Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act
• Definitions
• OMA/IQMH/OMD policies on Workplace Violence and Harassment

Roles and Responsibilities, including;

• Incident Reporting/Investigating
• Responding to Complaints
• Complaints Resolution
• Record Keeping
• Confidentiality

In addition, you will learn:

• Risk Factors
• Communicating Risk
• Prevention Measures
• Education and Training
• Resources and Feedback




Amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

The Occupational Health and Safety Act protects workers against health and safety risks on the job.

Bill 168 which covers Violence and Harassment in the Workplace is an amendment to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and came into effect on June 15, 2010.

Bill 168

• Strengthens employee protection against workplace violence
• Addresses workplace harassment
• Provides definitions of workplace violence and harassment
• Amendments came into effect on June 15, 2010




Bill 132 – Sexual Violence and Harassment Action Plan Act:


• Expands the definition of “workplace harassment” to specifically include “workplace sexual harassment”;
• Requires organizations to develop and maintain a program to implement the workplace violence and harassment policy in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or a health and safety representative;
• Includes measures and procedures for the reporting of workplace harassment when the employer or a supervisor is the alleged harasser;
• Outlines how sensitive information such as identifying information of the individuals involved will be handled so that it is not disclosed unless necessary to the investigation, corrective action, or as required by law;
• Describes how the results of an investigation will be shared with the complainant and alleged harasser;
• Amendments came into effect on September 8, 2016.




Definitions

Workplace Violence

• The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker;
• An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker;
• A statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.




Examples of workplace violence include, but are not limited to:

• Physically threatening behaviour such as shaking a fist at someone, finger pointing, destroying property, throwing objects;
• Verbal or written threats that express an intent to inflict harm;
• Physically aggressive behaviours including hitting, shoving, pushing, kicking, etc.;
• Any other act that would arouse fear in a reasonable person under the circumstances.




Workplace Harassment:

• Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome; or,
• Workplace sexual harassment




Workplace Sexual Harassment

• Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, where the course of comment or conduct is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, or
• Making a sexual solicitation or advance where the person making the solicitation or advance is in a position to confer, grant or deny a benefit or advancement to the worker and the person knows or ought reasonably to know that the solicitation or advance is unwelcome.

Sexual harassment is not only a human rights issue covered by the Human Rights Code, but is also a workplace safety issue covered by the OHSA.





Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

• Making inappropriate sexual gestures;
• Staring in a sexually suggestive or offensive manner, or whistling;
• Making sexual comments about appearance, clothing, or body parts;
• Inappropriate touching, including pinching, patting, rubbing, or purposefully brushing up against another person;
• Making suggestive or offensive comments about members of a specific gender or making gender-related comments about someone’s physical characteristics or mannerisms.

Employment related sexual harassment may occur either in the working environment or may occur elsewhere if it relates to employment; e.g. office-related social functions or during work-related travel.





The following examples do NOT constitute harassment:


• Allocating work;
• Following-up on work absences;
• Requiring performance to job standards;
• Taking corrective or disciplinary measures, when justified;
• Exclusion of individuals for a particular job based on specific occupational requirements necessary to accomplish the safe and efficient performance of the job;
• Difficult professional constraints such as a budget reduction exercise;
• Constructive criticism about a work mistake;
• Counseling an employee on his performance appraisal when done in a non- discriminatory or non-harassing manner.
• Making threats to penalize or otherwise punish a person who refuses to comply with sexual advances (known as reprisal or payback).




TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Which Act does Bill 168 and Bill 132 amend?

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Workplace violence is defined as:

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Which of the following is not an example of violence in the workplace?

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Which of the following would be considered sexual harassment?

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Harassment does not include:

Click on the correct box.





Workplace Bullying

• A form of harassment, often a tool used by one to exercise power and control over another;
• The persistent mistreatment of one or more employees, sometimes by an employee in a position of influence or authority, who, intentionally or unwittingly, subjects others to behaviour that humiliates, demoralizes, or otherwise undermines the victim’s credibility, effectiveness and personal wellbeing.




Examples of workplace bullying include, but are not limited to:

• Unjust criticism, fault-finding, belittling;
• Communication that embarrasses or humiliates the person privately or publicly;
• Explosive outbursts;
• Intentionally and repeatedly isolating someone.

Workplace bullying is not something to be taken lightly… the threat posed by workplace bullying is real. Bullying is a form of harassment and as such, it is not appropriate workplace behaviour.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Bullying is NOT:

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Bullying IS:

Click on the correct box.





Discrimination

Occurs where harassment relates to any one of the prohibited grounds as set out in the Human Rights Code: (eg. race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, disability and pardoned conviction).

Examples of discrimination include, but are not limited to:

• Displaying racist or derogatory materials;
• Refusing to work or have contact with an employee/team member on the job because of their ethnic/racial background; or
• Slurs, gestures, name calling, or innuendos of a racist or discriminatory nature.




Domestic Violence

Employers who are aware or ought reasonably to be aware that domestic violence might expose an employee to injury in the workplace must take every precaution practicable under the circumstances to protect the employee and ensure the safety of all others in the workplace.

Domestic violence often extends into the workplace and can have serious effects on an employee’s work life and performance at work. Research has shown:

• 70 per cent of individuals suffering from domestic violence are victimized at work.
• 54 per cent of domestic violence victims miss three or more days of work a month.
• 24 per cent of employees have experienced domestic violence.

(Source: Swanberg, J., Logan, TK, and Macke, C. "Intimate Partner Violence, Employment, and the Workplace". Trauma, Violence and Abuse, Vol. 6, No. 4 2005.)





Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Policies and Procedures:


• The Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD is committed to providing a working environment in which all individuals are treated with respect, fairness and dignity.
• The Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD will not tolerate any acts of violence and harassment and will take all reasonable and practicable measures to prevent and protect employees from violence and harassment in the workplace.
• The Workplace Violence and Harassment Policy applies to all employees of the Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD.
• Other individuals providing services on behalf of the Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD, students, contractors, consultants, volunteers, visitors or guests are also expected to conduct themselves in a manner consistent with this policy while at the place of business or while conducting any business-related activity.

Complete policy details can be found on StaffSpace or through Human Resources.





Roles and Responsibilities


Shared Responsibility:

All employees have a shared responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment free of workplace violence and harassment.

All employees are responsible for understanding their roles and responsibilities, such that:

• Everyone in the workplace is dedicated to preventing violence and harassment in the workplace and will comply with the policy and its supporting legislation;
• Employees are aware of and understand that violence and harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated from any person in the workplace;
• Those who are subjected to (and/or witness) acts of violence or harassment will bring it to the immediate attention of their Manager and/or Human Resources; and,
• Business is delivered in an environment that promotes the safety and well-being of all those giving and/or in receipt of services at the Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD.




Responsibilities of Management:


It is the responsibility of management to:

• Ensure to the best of its ability that the workplace is free from violence and harassment, threats of violence and harassment, intimidation or other disruptive behaviour;
• Conduct periodic Workplace Violence Risk Assessments to determine whether the nature of work, or the work environment places or may place employees at risk of violence (results of assessments and reassessments will be reported to the Joint Health and Safety Committee);
• Communicate this policy and procedure to all employees;
• Respond promptly to all reports of violence and harassment, address all incidents of workplace violence and harassment immediately and not condone or allow any behaviour that is contrary to this policy;
• Take appropriate corrective action when an act of workplace violence and harassment has been confirmed; and,
• Provide education and training for all employees in regards to Workplace Violence and Harassment.




Responsibilities of Employees:

An employee who is being subjected to, witnessed or has knowledge of any acts of workplace violence and harassment that has occurred or may occur, should take the following actions:

• Inform the aggressor that the conduct is unacceptable;
• Keep a written record of date(s), time(s), what was said and done, and name(s) or witness(es) to the incident(s), if any; and,
• Contact their immediate supervisor, the Executive Director of Human Resources and/or the Chief Executive Officer for advice and assistance.




In an emergency situation where there is an imminent threat, staff should:

• Immediately call 911 for emergency services, and initiate any appropriate action such as calling for staff trained in first aid/CPR. Then notify the Crisis Manager (Director, Office Services) and department management, who will initiate next steps and follow up.
• Staff should familiarize themselves with the OMA Safety and Security Plan and Procedures as found on StaffSpace.  




Responsibilities of Joint Health and Safety Committee:

It is the responsibility of the Joint Health and Safety Committee to:

• Review Workplace Violence Risk Assessment results and provide recommendations to management to reduce or eliminate the risk of violence;
• Recommend corrective measures for the improvement of the health and safety of employees; and/or
• Maintain all other powers/responsibilities for workplace violence hazards as they do for other occupational health and safety hazards under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.




TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

Who is responsible for creating and maintain a safe and respectful workplace?

Click on the correct box.





What is the Risk of Violence in the Workplace?

Every employer must consider the risk of experiencing workplace violence associated with each job position within the company. Working conditions in which employees have an increased risk of encountering workplace violence include many “everyday” environments.

Some risk factors include:

• Working non-standard hours
• Working alone or in small numbers
• Working with the public
• Handling prescription drugs
• Handling money
• Working in health care, social services
• Working in a community-based setting (ie. home visits)




Workplace violence and harassment can happen in any work environment

Possible sources include:

• Members of the public
• Clients
• Patients
• Coworkers
• Supervisors

Remember that just because someone doesn’t work directly with you doesn’t mean their behaviour is without potential consequences.





Communicating Risk

Under the Act, employers must provide information to a(n) employee(s) or a work area about a risk of violence from a person with a history of violent behaviour, only if:

• the employee can expect to encounter that person in the course of work; and
• if the employee may be at risk of physical injury.

Information will be shared on a strict “need to know” basis, only as reasonably necessary to protect the employee(s) from personal injury.





Impact of Violence and Harassment in the Workplace

• Respondent: loss of job, retaliation, impact on mental health, imprisonment
• Complainant: isolation, illness, self-esteem, absenteeism
• Team: reduced morale, fear, reduced productivity
• Organization: retention and recruitment, reputation, fiscal liability

Harassment and violence at work can damage an employee’s confidence, morale, motivation and mental or physical health causing them to be less productive, effective or engaged and may lead to acts of physical violence in the workplace.  





Reporting Incidents


All workers have a duty to report unsafe or unhealthy conditions, including incidents of workplace violence and harassment, to management and/or Human Resources.

All complaints will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly, without undue delay. All information regarding these procedures will remain confidential, except where disclosure is absolutely necessary to aid the investigation or to take disciplinary action or is required by law.

A report with findings and recommendations will be given to the Chief Executive Officer. A summary of the findings will also be provided to the complainant and respondent.

The Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD will conduct an investigation within 90 calendar days unless there are extenuating circumstances warranting a longer investigation.

If an employee makes a complaint to the Ontario Ministry of Labour, an impartial qualified person may be appointed to investigate the complaint.





Investigations

Following a report of an (alleged) incident, Human Resources will review the report and conduct an investigation, which includes:

• Informing the alleged offender about the filed complaint, including the identity of the complainant;
• Interviewing the alleged offender, including requesting a written statement;
• Interviewing any witnesses;
• Ensuring to the best of its ability that retaliation/reprisal against the complainant does not occur;
• Documenting the complaint and maintaining accurate records; and,
• Reporting findings and recommendations to the Chief Executive Officer.

Details of the reporting procedure and investigation process are posted on StaffSpace. Page 28a





Record Keeping

The following records of complaints or incidents will be kept:

• a copy of the complaint or details about the incident;
• a record of the investigation including notes;
• copy of witness statements, if taken;
• a copy of the investigation report, if any;
• a copy of the results of the investigation that were provided to the worker and the alleged harasser; and
• a copy of any corrective action taken to address the complaint or incident of workplace harassment.




TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

If a person has a history of violence, the employer has the responsibility to provide information regarding the client to employees:

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

An employee has the right to refuse work when:

Click on the correct box.





Employee and Family Assistance Program

The Ontario Medical Association/Institute for Quality Management in Healthcare/OntarioMD provides access to free assistance/counselling for employees and their immediate family who are experiencing any sort of personal or family problems.

The counselling service is strictly confidential – no reports or records are sent to the organization. Using the EFAP will not jeopardize any employee’s job or future.

The assistance is on a self-referral basis only and can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the “Resilience” program provided by Manulife/Homewood Human Solutions.

To access Resilience by phone, employees should call 1.866.644.0326 or visit www.manulife.ca/groupbenefits or www.myresilience.com.





Prevention

Disputes often have trivial causes, typically verbal in nature. The dispute pattern is usually not random and unique; rather, it builds, intensifies and continues. Despite the unpredictable nature of violence, it can often be attributed to improperly managed or unresolved conflict.





Preventative Measures:

• Proactive approach to conflict management; ie. personal resolution;
• Managing conflict using fair and transparent processes;
• Mutually satisfactory agreements can help prevent conflict from escalating to violence and harassment;
• Resolutions and outcomes are decidedly better when conflict is recognized and effectively managed and brought to a resolution.




Prevention Tips:

• Be prepared; know the risks
• Trust your instincts
• Be ready to respond
• Remain calm
• Report all incidents




Monitoring the Workplace for Signs of Harassment

Do you notice employees in distress?

Typical signs of employees in distress include:

• Feelings of frustration and/or helplessness
• Loss of confidence
• Confusion
• Avoiding certain co-workers or the supervisor
• Reluctance to attend meetings
• Physical signs of stress, such as frequent headaches, upset stomachs and fatigue may be increasing.




Are attendance patterns changing?

• Do you notice any changes in attendance?
• Is a previously punctual and reliable employee suddenly developing a habit of coming in late for work?
• Are work absences and sick days increasing?




Do you notice work performance changes?

Change patterns in work performance include:

• Failure to meet deadlines that had previously been met routinely
• Submitting sloppy or disorganized work
• Failing to meet well established goals
• Deteriorating problem-solving skills
• Decreasing scores on performance reviews
• Deteriorating productivity




Are harassment complaints increasing?

The most common harassment complaints relate to inappropriate touching as well as verbal or written remarks that make an employee feel uncomfortable.

Many employees may be reluctant to complain to their supervisor or manager because of fear or embarrassment, but they will complain to co-workers.





Are turnover and resignation patterns changing?

• Pay attention to the turnover rate in your department.
• Are good employees making a decision to leave your department right out of the blue?
• Use exit interviews to find out the root cause of the turnover. Do the exit interviews point to harassment?




Education and Training

Education and training to increase awareness is a very important part of any violence and harassment prevention program.

All new employees will receive both a general orientation and department and/or site-specific training on workplace violence and harassment.

All staff will be trained on an ongoing basis and/or when any changes are made to any policies, programs and procedures relating to workplace violence and harassment.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

If you witness an act of violence and/or harassment in the workplace, what should you do?

Click on the correct box.





TODO: this is a quiz

Pop Quiz

If there is an emergency, what should you do?

Click on the correct box.





Resources and Feedback

For any concerns or questions about this or any Workplace Violence and Harassment Policies, please contact the Human Resources Department.