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Upholding employee rights in the workplace

Workplace harassment has been a considerable topic of conversation in the media of late. Both here in Ontario and in the United States, high-profile cases of major companies and organizations ignoring employee rights and fostering a culture of harassment have been prevalent. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the business owner to ensure his or her company complies with federal and provincial guidelines surrounding the treatment of employees, both in addressing the issues and preventing them from happening again. 

One of the most important starting points for employers to understand is just because there have been no formalized complaints, that does not mean that a problem does not exist. In many workplaces, victims feel uncomfortable coming forward or reporting inappropriate behaviour out of fear of losing their standing in the company or even their jobs. Others fear reprisal from managers who may have acted inappropriately as well. 

This is why it is vital for organizations to make it easy for those suffering from harassment to come forward with their stories. Ensuring that all employees understand the process of reporting a complaint, as well as supporting them through that process, are all important factors to consider when building out a human resources solution for workplace harassment. Open lines of communication can make all the difference in the world. 

Employee rights are a cornerstone of Canadian business, both here in Ontario and across the nation. Nevertheless, some individuals still continue to suffer harassment and abuse at the hands of their coworkers and superiors. Thankfully, legal support exists for those individuals. If a company or employer refuses to take action, turning to the law for assistance is a good first step. 

Source: The Globe and Mail, "How to address -- and prevent -- sexual harassment in your workplace", Jessica Leeder, June 2, 2017

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