When an employee says “I’m sorry”

Blog located in HR Solutions, Small Business posted on June 23, 2016

Dr. Barbara Benoviel is a professional mediator and president of Preferred Solutions Conflict Resolutions, which focuses on resolving disputes. She recently wrote an article related to the relevancy of apologizing in the workplace. This topic is very appropriate in my own field of practice as a human resources consultant.

The Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment policy, now part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990 has sparked a lot of interest when coupled with recent headlines (namely the former CBC radio host Jian Ghomeshi). Understandably so.

Employer’s role

According to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 employers must proactively assess the risks of workplace violence that may arise from the nature of the workplace, the type of work or the conditions of work. However, the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990 does not require an employer to assess the risk of workplace harassment.

Essentially, according to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 the workplace harassment program must include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of workplace harassment and set out how the employer will investigate and deal with incidents or complaints.

The apology

As the victim, an employee filing a complaint about sexual harassment goes through shock, anger and fear. Dr. Benoviel explains these reactions as follows: she says “anger comes from the violation of personal safety created by the injury. Fear comes from feeling diminished as a human being and the new vulnerability to being injured again; any sense of security is gone”.

The resolution

You must ensure you are following the law and you must investigate the issue. If it can’t be resolved in an amicable way, an apology might not be enough. We can assist you with getting the appropriate resolution to these matters. Give us a call at 416-368-0720 or send us an email aline@ayoubhr.com.