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A policy to prevent discrimination, harassment and retaliation is a document used by employers to describe their specific rules on prohibited behaviour in the workplace. The document is important for any employer. Cases of discrimination, harassment or retaliation are the centre of many lawsuits. Having a policy in place protects employers and employees.
These types of policies can be very straightforward, meaning that they do not vary much from one organization to another, as provincial and federal laws are often very similar in terms of the definition of discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
This policy may be included in another employment document, such as an employee handbook or employment contract. However, it is generally recommended to have it as a separate document, so that it can be much more explicit than a manual.
How to use this document
This document is fairly simple. It requires only easily accessible information, such as company identification information and a few other basic questions about the company's internal policy. Again, these documents tend to be identical from one organization to another and do not need to be modified. In fact, the variance between such policies is generally unwise, as common situations of inappropriate behaviour in this context may be omitted.
Employees should also sign the acknowledgement at the end of the document confirming they read and understand the Policy. The employer should then add a copy of the signed Policy to each employee's file.
In Canada, discrimination, harassment or retaliation against anyone who works for an organization is a violation of human rights law. Employers have the obligation to take appropriate action against any employee who discriminates or harasses someone. Employers can be held responsible for harassment committed by their employees if they don't act against it.
For example, under the Canadian Human Rights Act, employers are required to ensure that all employees affected by the company are treated equally, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation or any of the other grounds of discrimination listed in the law.
The Canadian human rights commission defines the obligations of employers and employees on discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
Every province and territory in Canada has its own Employment Standards and Human Rights laws. For more information, contact the relevant Employment Standards Branch in the province or territory.
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