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.

NOTE: As of April 1, 2019 workplace harassment is included in New Brunswick’s occupational health and safety regulations. Until April 1, 2019, the proclaimed bill can be viewed here.

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.

Employee Responsibilities

Employees must:

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