Employers are legally required to have policies in place to respond to complaints of harassment and workplace violence – including bullying.
While some employers are prepared with relevant policies, they are unsure on steps to take once they receive a complaint.
Should a workplace investigation be needed,
it is paramount for employers to ensure they are completed properly and fairly, or they may risk significant financial loss. For example, in Rutledge v Markhaven Inc, 2022 ONSC 3183, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded a terminated employee $50,000 in bad faith and moral damages in part due to an improper workplace investigation.
Workplace investigations need to be:
- procedurally fair;
- protect privacy rights while striking a balance with necessary disclosure;
- conducted promptly; and
- be thorough and impartial.
To limit legal exposure, it is vital to retain an experienced and trained workplace investigator.
Employers should review their workplace policies and procedures to ensure they are in compliance with current laws and are manageable for the workplace. Employers should understand their obligations to provide a safe workplace and know the proper steps to take should they receive an unsafe workplace complaint.
If you need assistance with updating policies or conducting a workplace investigation, contact a member of our Workplace Law team- we’re here to help.