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Section 1

Workplace Violence & Harassment


The following topics are covered in this program

  • Definitions
  • Unacceptable Behaviours
  • Impact of Violence & Harassment
  • Legislation
  • Interpersonal Conflict
  • Dealing with Situations
  • Work Alone
  • Domestic/Family Violence
  • Reporting
  • Creating a Positive Work Environment
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Rights & Responsibilities



from the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA)

“Workplace Violence” means,

a)the exercise of physical force by a person against a workerin a workplace that causesor could cause physical injury to the worker,

b)   an attempt to exercise physical force    against a worker in a workplace that   could cause physical injury to the   worker.

c)  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.


“Workplace Harassment” means,

a)   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.


b)  workplace sexual harassment.

 “Workplace Sexual Harassment” means,

a) 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 

b) 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. 

Definition from Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety 

Bullying is seen as acts or verbal comments that could ‘mentally’ hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. 

Usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.

Unacceptable ​Behaviours    


  •   Screaming or yelling
  •   Insults & name calling


  •   Swearing & using offensive language
  •   Using a disrespectful tone of voice
  •   Mocking or mimicking someone 




Non-Verbal – Body Language​      

  •   Sneering, smirking   or a cocky smile
  •   Staring or glaring
  •   Turning away from someone before they have finished speaking.
  •   Crossing arms aggressively

  • Finger pointing
  •   Making little or no eye contact
  •   Throwing temper tantrums​  


Psychological Behaviour

  •   Dismissing someone’s thoughts or experience.
  •   Character assassination
  • Cyber bullying​        

Group Behaviour​      

  •   Turning others against someone.
  •   Excluding or isolating someone socially.
  •   Spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or innuendo that is not true.



Supervisor Behaviour

  •   Applying a different standard.
  •   Excessive criticism. 
  •   Removing responsibility for being too competent.
  •   Applying impossible ​   





         What is NOT harassment​

A reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the workplace.

Impact of​  Violence ​& ​Harassment​


  •   Can cause Physical & Psychological Injury
  •   Death

Emotional Harassment

  •   These effects are often minimized by others.
  •   Can be more devastating & longer term than physical abuse.
  •   Effects may be internalized by the victim.

Impact on victims

  •   Stress related illnesses
  •   Irritable, tearful, violent or aggressive
  •   Self worth/self esteem
  •   Seen as less competent
  •   Poor productivity

Impact on workplace

  •   Increased absenteeism
  •   Decreased productivity
  •   Poor morale
  •   Tension – conflict among staff



Employer Duties regarding workplace violence & harassment include:

  •   Conduct a risk assessment.
  •   Prepare violence & harassment policies & programs.
  •   Provide training to workers regarding  violence policy & program.
  •   Take reasonable steps to protect workers from domestic violence in the workplace.
  • Develop reporting & investigation measures.
  • Workers to be informed in writing of the results of the investigation & any corrective actions
  • Develop measures & procedures to report incidents of harassment to a person other than the employer or supervisor, if the employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser.

Quiz #1

1. A supervisor discussing a safety violation with a worker is not considered harassment.


2. The Occupational Health & Safety Act provides a definition of workplace violence.


3. Workplace "violence" involves "physical" actions or threats against a worker.


4. Screaming, yelling & swearing at a co-worker is okay if they are really annoying you.


5. The effects of emotional harassment can be more devasting & longer term than a physical occurrence.


6. The workplace is not impacted by tension between workers.


7. The employers procedures should include a method to report harassment to a 3rd party if the employer or supervisor are the harasser.


8. Workers are not allowed to know the results of an investigation, this is confidential information.