Harassment

Workplace harassment is an issue that can affect all business sectors and occupations. It claims a high personal cost from the emotional trauma and psychological injury experienced by victims, their families and co-workers.

For New Brunswick workplaces,

Harassment in a place of employment, means any objectionable or offensive behaviour that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, including bullying or any other conduct, comment or display made on either a onetime or repeated basis that threatens the health or safety of an employee, and includes sexual harassment, but does not include reasonable conduct of an employer in respect of the management and direction of employees at the place of employment.

Employer Responsibilities

Code of Practice

Every employer must create a written code of practice for harassment at their workplace to ensure employee health and safety. The code of practice for harassment must include:

  • A statement that every employee is entitled to work free of harassment
  • The identity of the person responsible for implementing the code
  • A statement that an employee must report an incident of harassment to the employer as soon as possible
  • What training is required
  • The employer’s procedure for documenting and investigating incidents
  • Method to inform affected employees of investigation results
  • The employer’s procedure for implementing corrective measures identified by the investigation
  • The follow-up measures for affected employees

The employer must make sure the code of practice:

  • Is implemented and followed.
  • Provides adequate protection for employee health and safety, when followed.
  • Is established, implemented, reviewed and updated in consultation with the joint health and safety committee (JHSC), health and safety representative or employees.
  • Is made available to employees and to a WorkSafeNB health and safety officer on request.

The employer must review and update the code at least once a year and when there is a change in workplace conditions, or when ordered to do so by a WorkSafeNB health and safety officer (‘officer’).

Training program

The employer must implement a training program on the code of practice for each employee and for each supervisor and include in the training of a new employee. Training records must be made available to an officer on request.

Privacy and confidentiality

Maintaining privacy and confidentiality is important to ensure employees are comfortable reporting incidents. The employer must not disclose to anyone the identity of a person involved in an incident of harassment, or the circumstances related to the incident, except when the disclosure is:

  • Necessary in order to investigate the incident.
  • Required in order to take corrective actions.
  • Required by law.

Any personal information that is collected, used, or disclosed by the employer must be limited to the minimum amount necessary.

Supervisor Responsibilities

Supervisors must:

  • Enforce the harassment code of practice and ensure employees follow it.
  • Report incidents of harassment to their employer as soon as possible.
  • Follow the code of practice

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must:

  • Report incidents of harassment to their employer as soon as possible.
  • Follow the code of practice.

General Regulation - Occupational Health and Safety Act
N.B. Reg. 91-191

Part XXII.I VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT

Section 374.4 Code of practice - harassment

374.4 (1) An employer shall establish a written code of practice for harassment at the place of employment to ensure the health and safety of employees to the extent possible.

(2) A code of practice for harassment shall include the following:

(a) a statement that every employee is entitled to work free of harassment;

(b) the identity of the person responsible for implementing the code of practice;

(c) a statement that an employee shall report an incident of harassment to the employer as soon as the circumstances permit;

(d) the procedure the employer shall follow to investigate and document any incident of harassment of which the employer is aware;

(e) the manner in which affected employees shall be informed of the results of an investigation;

(f) the procedure the employer shall follow to implement any corrective measures identified as a result of the investigation;

(g) the follow-up measures to be used with affected employees; and

(h) the identification of training needs.

[N.B. Reg. 2018-82, s. 2]

Section 374.5 Implementation

374.5 (1) An employer shall ensure that the codes of practice established under section 374.2 and 374.4 are, when followed, sufficient to provide for the health and safety of employees at the place of employment to the extent possible.

(2) In establishing and implementing the codes of practice referred to in subsection (1), an employer shall consult with

(a) all committees, if any,

(b) all health and safety representatives, if any, or

(c) if there is no committee or representative, employees.

(3) An employer shall ensure that a copy of the codes of practice referred to in subsection (1) is readily available to an officer and to employees on request.

(4) An employer shall ensure that the codes of practice referred to in subsection (1) are implemented and followed at the place of employment.

(5) An employee shall follow all codes of practice.

[N.B. Reg. 2018-82, s. 2]

Section 374.6 Privacy

374.6 (1) An employer shall not disclose to any person the identity of a person who is involved in an incident of violence or harassment or the circumstances related to the incident, other than when the disclosure is

(a) necessary in order to investigate the incident,

(b) required in order to take corrective measures in response to the incident, or

(c) required by law.

(2) The personal information that is collected, used or disclosed by the employer under sections 374.1 to 374.5 shall be limited to the minimum amount of information necessary to accomplish the purpose.

[N.B. Reg. 2018-82, s. 2]

Section 374.7 Training

374.7 (1) An employer shall implement a training program in respect of the codes of practice established under sections 374.2 and 374.4 for each employee and for each supervisor who is responsible for an employee.

(2) The training record for each employee shall be made available to an officer on request.

[N.B. Reg. 2018-82, s. 2]

Section 374.8 Review and update

374.8 (1) An employer shall review the codes of practice established under section 374.2 and 374.4 at least once each year in consultation with

(a) all committees, if any,

(b) all health and safety representatives, if any, or

(c) if there is no committee or representative, employees.

(2) An employer shall update the codes of practice referred to in subsection (1)

(a) when there is a change in conditions at the place of employment, or

(b) when ordered to do so by an officer.

[N.B. Reg. 2018-82, s. 2]