Due to the recent legislation changes to the OH&S Act, the MDA has asked a labour lawyer to draft policies on Harassment, Discrimination and Workplace Violence for our members. Below are the policies which you can personalize for your dealership.

The MDA is presently working with OH&S to update the Health and Safety Tool Kit for Alberta Auto and Truck Dealers.

The policy team at OH&S is currently reviewing the tool kit as to what changes are required and a revised took kit is expected later this summer. As soon as the Tool Kit has been published, we will forward a PDF version to all members.


Purpose:
[Name of Dealer] (the “Dealership”) is committed to a safe, healthy, respectful, rewarding, and Harassment-free work environment for all employees. In pursuit of this goal, we do not condone and will not tolerate acts of Harassment or Workplace Violence by or against any of our employees. This Policy is intended to communicate the Dealership’s expectations, to prevent all forms of Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Workplace Violence of any type, and to quickly and effectively deal with any incidents that might occur.

It is not the purpose of this Policy to prevent normal workplace interaction.

Position of the Dealership:
Any act of Harassment (which includes Sexual Harassment), Discrimination, or Workplace Violence committed by or against an employee is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The Dealership is committed to taking every reasonable precaution to ensure that employees are not subjected to Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence. Offensive, degrading, or threatening actions will not be tolerated.

An employee who subjects another individual to Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. All employees are responsible for reporting Workplace Violence, Harassment, and/or Discrimination.

Consultants and contractors retained by the Dealership must conduct themselves in accordance with this Policy in their activities related to the Dealership. Failure to do so may result in termination of the contractual relationship.

Application of this Policy:
This Policy applies to all individuals working for or providing services to the Dealership, including full-time employees, part-time employees, and temporary employees (which includes supervisors, managers, and officers), as well as directors, agents, consultants, and contractors. Where applicable, this Policy also relates to customers, suppliers, and other third parties who interact with employees of the Dealership.

While this Policy is primarily directed at behaviour in the workplace, violations of this Policy can also occur away from the workplace.

Definitions:
In this Policy, the following definitions apply:

Discrimination is any distinction based upon one of the Protected Grounds, which negatively impacts an employee who is a member of the protected group (whether by imposing burdens, obligations, or disadvantages not imposed upon others or withholding opportunities, benefits, or advantages available to others). Discrimination will be interpreted in a manner consistent with any defences available under the law.

Discrimination does not include actions occasioned through exercising the Dealership’s managerial / supervisory rights and responsibilities in good faith (e.g., proper performance management).

Harassment is any unwanted, unsolicited, offensive behaviour, comments, or displays explicitly or implicitly directed at any employee, customer, or supplier of the Dealership that is reasonably likely to cause offence or humiliation to any employee, customer, or supplier, or interfere with any employee’s performance.

Harassment includes Sexual Harassment, which is defined below.

Behaviour that constitutes Harassment includes, but is not limited to, verbal outbursts or abuse, sarcastic or derogatory comments, action that undermines, demeans, belittles, or humiliates an individual or group, yelling, screaming, or other behaviour aimed at intimidating, coercing, threatening, bullying, or offending those at whom it is directed.

Harassment can be a single incident or repeated actions. It can occur between people of differing authority or between people of similar authority.

Harassment may be, but need not be, based on one or more of the Protected Grounds (defined below).

For the purposes of this Policy, retaliation against an individual for having invoked this Policy (whether on behalf of one’s self or an individual), for having participated or cooperated in an investigation under this Policy, or for having been associated with a person who has invoked this Policy or participated in these procedures, will be treated as Harassment.

Harassment does not include actions occasioned through exercising the Dealership’s managerial / supervisory rights and responsibilities in good faith (e.g., proper performance management).

Protected Grounds include race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, gender identity, gender expression, physical or mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, family status, and any other prohibited ground covered by the Alberta Human Rights Act.

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is defined as any single or repeated verbal remark or physical contact of a sexual nature that is objectionable or unwelcome and that a person knows or reasonably ought to know will cause offence or humiliation to an employee or adversely affect the employee’s health and safety. It includes unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, or placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment which threatens job security, affects work opportunities, or negatively impacts on the working conditions or employment atmosphere in which any employee works.

Sexual Harassment can occur between people of differing authority or between people of similar authority. It can be directed at an individual or at a group.

Sexual Harassment also includes inappropriate sexual conduct involving an employee and a customer or supplier of the Dealership.

Sexual harassment does not include consensual relationships.

Workplace Violence is the exercise of physical force, an attempt to exercise physical force, or a threat to exercise physical force against an employee or other individual in a workplace that causes, or could cause, physical injury to the employee or other individual. Examples of Workplace Violence include, but are not limited to: threatening behaviour such as shaking fists, destroying property, or throwing objects; verbal or written threats that express an intent to inflict harm; physical attacks; and any other act that would create fear in a reasonable person in the circumstance.

Examples:
Examples of behaviour that is prohibited Harassment / Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence include, but are not limited to:

  • A statement causing embarrassment or offence told or carried out after the speaker has been advised that they are embarrassing or offensive, or are by their nature clearly embarrassing or offensive
    • Display of offensive, pornographic, or other sexually explicit or offensive material in the form of pictures, email, electronic communications, graffiti, cartoons, or sayings
    • Degrading or derogatory remarks and words used to describe a person
    • Suggestive remarks, sexual jokes, or obscene comments or gestures
    • Unwelcome inquiries or comments about a person’s personal life
    • Leering, whistling, or making sexually offensive gestures
    • Persistent unwanted contact or attention
    • Unwelcome flirtations, invitations, advances, or propositions
    • Repeated invitations after previous requests have been refused
    • Any advances, invitations, or propositions of sexual nature which might, on reasonable grounds, be perceived as placing a condition on a person’s future employment, assignments, or opportunity for promotion or training
    • Verbal abuse or threats
    • Unwanted physical contact
    • Sexual assault
    • Refusing to work with people because of Protected Grounds
    • Creating a hostile work environment
    • Bullying
    • Use of social media that violates the terms of this Policy

Responsibilities:
The Dealership is responsible to:

  1. Enforce and uphold this Policy.
    2. Treat co-workers, customers, suppliers, and the public with respect and dignity.
    3. Discourage and prevent employment-related Harassment (including Sexual Harassment), Discrimination, and Workplace Violence.
    4. Investigate formal complaints of Harassment, Discrimination, and Workplace Violence.
    5. Implement appropriate employment measures, including discipline, when an employment-related complaint is substantiated.
    6. Provide advice and support to persons who are subjected to Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence.
    7. Review and revise this Policy and its procedures as needed.
    8. Maintain records as required by this Policy.
    9. Address issues under this Policy with the Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee.

Employees are responsible to:

  1. Comply with this Policy.
    2. Treat co-workers, customers, suppliers, and the public with respect and dignity.
    3. Behave in a way that enhances the Dealership’s reputation.
    4. Not harass, sexually harass, discriminate against or engage in Workplace Violence against any other employee, customer, or supplier of the Dealership.
    5. Report incidents of Harassment (including Sexual Harassment), Discrimination, and Workplace Violence to Human Resources.
    6. Fully cooperate in any investigation when questioned regarding possible violation of this Policy.

Procedure:
Employees who feel they have been subjected to Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence (or retaliation for having brought forward a complaint of Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence) are encouraged to:

  • approach the individual responsible for the conduct, personally or in writing, and ask that the improper behaviour stop; or
    • ask a supervisor, manager, or Human Resources to approach the individual to ask that the improper behaviour stop.

Individuals are encouraged to identify their concerns in a timely manner in order to facilitate a quick response and appropriate action.

If the complainant does not wish to bring the matter directly to the attention of the person responsible, or where such an approach is attempted and does not produce a satisfactory result, the complainant should contact management or Human Resources.

Employees should follow the formal complaint procedure if they do not feel comfortable dealing with the matter informally or have done so without an end to the behaviour.

Every complaint will be taken seriously. Investigations will be conducted promptly.

If there is an imminent threat to personal safety or serious injuries have been sustained, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Investigation Process:
When a formal complaint is received, management or Human Resources will coordinate an investigation and work with the relevant parties. Confidentiality will be maintained wherever possible, but cannot be guaranteed. Management or Human Resources may engage resources they deem appropriate or necessary to conduct the investigation, including qualified investigators or legal counsel.

Complaints will be dealt with in the following manner:

  1. The complainant and the alleged offender will both be interviewed, along with any individuals whom the Dealership considers may be able to provide relevant information.
    2. All information will be kept confidential, except as may be necessary in order to properly investigate the complaint.
    3. The conclusion of the investigation will be communicated to the complainant and the alleged offender.
    4. If the investigation reveals evidence to support the complaint, the offender may be disciplined based on all the circumstances. Discipline may include a verbal or written discussion or reprimand, suspension, or termination, and the incident will be documented in the employee’s personnel file. A separate investigation file may be maintained containing all relevant investigation notes and documents.
    5. In the event that the complaint is well-founded, the complainant is entitled to know that the Dealership has taken appropriate steps to remedy the situation, but due to privacy considerations is not entitled to know what disciplinary action has been imposed.
    6. If the offender is not an employee (e.g., a customer or supplier), appropriate action will be taken to deal with that person.
    7. Regardless of the outcome of a complaint made in good faith, the employee lodging the complaint, as well as anyone providing information, will be protected from any form of retaliation by either co-workers or superiors. This includes punishment, demotion, or denial of opportunities within the Dealership.
    8. Any situation where an employee knowingly makes a false verbal or written claim is subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
    9. Where appropriate, the Dealership’s Employee Assistance Program may be recommended to employees.

Confidentiality:
Any individual who becomes aware of an incident of Harassment, Discrimination, or Workplace Violence should not disclose the details to any third party, other than those designated in this Policy or as required by law. Gossiping about an incident seriously undermines the privacy of all parties involved and may result in discipline, up to and including termination.

All information gathered through investigation will be kept confidential. The name of the complainant and the details of the complaint will not normally be disclosed to any person except when necessary for the investigation of the complaint, reporting on the outcome of the investigation, taking disciplinary measures, dealing with the Joint Work Site Health and Safety Committee, or other management of the workplace. Investigation information will be secured in Human Resources (separate from employee personnel files unless the subject of discipline).