Violence is an issue that can affect all business sectors and occupations. It affects the safety and security of employees, customers, clients and business owners. It claims a high personal cost from the emotional trauma and physical injury felt by victims, their families and co-workers.

Violence in a place of employment means the attempted or actual use of physical force against an employee, or any threatening statement or behaviour that gives an employee reasonable cause to believe that physical force will be used against the employee, and includes sexual violence, intimate partner violence and domestic violence.

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

Employer Responsibilities

Risk Assessment

Every employer must assess the risk of violence in their workplace in consultation with the joint health and safety committee (JHSC), health and safety representative, or employees. This assessment must be documented and include:

  • The location and circumstances or situations where work activities take place.
  • Any possible types of violence that may happen in connection with the employee’s work. (including intimate partner violence and domestic violence spilling over into a workplace).
  • Description of the types (categories) of employees at risk, or the type of work that places employees at risk.
  • Which employees might be at risk for violent incidents, including the types of work activities that may place employees at risk.
  • The possible health and safety effects to the employees at risk.
  • Investigation results of previous violent incidents.
  • Knowledge of violent incidents in similar workplaces.

This assessment must be made available to the JHSCor health and safety representative, and to a health and safety officer (‘officer’) on request. The employer must review and update the assessment when there is a change in the work condition, or when ordered to do so by an officer.

Code of Practice

There are three instances when an employer must develop a written code of practice for violence.

One, when an employer regularly employs 20 or more employees in New Brunswick.

Two, when the following circumstances exist:

Three, when the risk assessment identified a risk of violence.

The goal of the code of practice is to reduce the risk of violence and make sure employees stay safe and healthy. It must therefore consider the risks identified in the assessment.

The code of practice must include:

  • A list of locations and circumstances where violence may occur and where the code applies
  • A description of the types of violence that might occur (identified in your risk assessment document)
  • Description of the types (categories) of employees at risk, or the type of work that places employees at risk (identified in your risk assessment document)
  • Identity of who is responsible for implementing the code
  • Statement that an employee must report an incident of violence to the employer as soon as possible
  • The actions and methods an employer will take to reduce the risk of violence:
  • Methods and equipment to be used
  • Procedures employees must follow
  • Training that is required
  • How an employee seeks emergency assistance if the established procedures fail or are not sufficient for the situation
  • Procedure employer must follow to document and investigate incidents
  • Method to inform affected employees of the investigation results
  • Procedure employer must follow to implement corrective measures identified by the investigation
  • Follow-up measures for affected employees

The employer must make sure the code of practice:

  • Is implemented and followed.
  • Provides adequate protection for the health and safety of employees, when followed.
  • Is established, implemented, reviewed and updated in consultation with the JHSC, health and safety representative or employees.
  • Is made available to an officer and employees on request.

Review and update of the code must be done by the employer at least once a year and when there is a change in conditions at the workplace, or when ordered to do so by an officer.

Training Program

The employer must implement a training program on the code for each employee and for each supervisor and include it in 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 to their employer. The employer must not disclose to anyone the identity of a person who is involved in an incident of violence or the circumstances related to the incident, except when the disclosure is:

  • Necessary to investigate the incident.
  • Required for 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 violent incidents to their employer as soon as possible.
  • Follow the code of practice.