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Alberta Workplace Bullying and Harassment Laws

The Alberta legislation on workplace bullying and harassment is under the Occupational Health and Safety Code (2000).

Relevant Statutes are:

Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. O-2; Occupational Health and Safety Code [‘Code’], Part 27; Occupational Health and Safety Code [‘Code’], sections 389-392

Websites:

Occupational Health and Safety Act: http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/O02.pdf
Code: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/WHS-LEG_ohsc_2009.pdf
Government of Alberta: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/working-in-alberta/295.html
Work Safe Alberta: http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/working-in-alberta/274.html
Alberta Human Rights Commission: http://www.albertahumanrights.ab.ca/

Workplace Violence Definition:

“the threatened, attempted or actual conduct of a person that causes or is likely to cause physical injury.” (Code s.1)

Risk to Employer:

According to the Act, a worker is entitled to compensation from the employer if the worker is suffering from a mental disorder either caused by a traumatic event that took place a work or “predominantly caused by a significant work-related stressor, including bullying or harassment, or a cumulative series of significant work-related stressors, arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment”.

What is Needed to be Compliant

• A zero tolerance policy concerning workplace violence.
• An incidence reporting mechanism to allow people to report unsafe work situations without fear of reprisals.

Although not required by legislation, it is prudent for the employer to conduct both an assessment and training. These can later be used in court by the company to show good will and due diligence. This can be used to prevent wrongful dismissal law suits that may arise from workplace stress.