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Preventing workplace harassment is a legislated requirement and identifying hazards that could potential lead to harassment should be addressed in the workplace’s hazard assessment.

What is Harassment?

As defined in the Saskatchewan Employment Act, harassment is any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person that either is based on  race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin. It can also be defined by an interaction that adversely affects the worker’s psychological or physical well-being and that the person knows or ought reasonably to know would cause a worker to be humiliated or intimidated.  Harassment could also include conduct, comments, display, action or gesture that would be considered a threat to the health or safety of the worker.

It must be established that the inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person is either repeated or it can be a single, serious comment, display, action or gesture that has a lasting, harmful effect on the worker. Harassment does not include any reasonable action that is taken by an employer, or a manager or supervisor employed or engaged by an employer, relating to the management and direction of the employer’s workers or the place of employment.

As an employer you shall:

  • Make sure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the workers are not exposed to harassment with respect to any matter or circumstance due to the workers’ employment.
  • Consult with the occupational health committee and develop a workplace policy that addresses harassment prevention.
    • The policy must include all of the following information:
      • Definition of harassment as per the Act;
      • Statement that every worker is entitled work in an workplace free of harassment;
      • Commitment that the employer will make every reasonably practicable effort to ensure that no worker is subjected to harassment;
      • Commitment that the employer will take corrective action towards any person under the employer's direction who subjects any worker to harassment;
      • Explanation of how complaints of harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer;
      • Statement that the employer will not disclose the name of a complainant or an alleged harasser or the circumstances related to the complaint to any person except where disclosure is necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking corrective action with respect to the complaint or if required by law;
      • Reference to the provisions of the Act that deal with  harassment and the worker's right to request the assistance of an occupational health officer to resolve a complaint of harassment;
      • Reference to the provisions of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code that deal with discriminatory practices and the worker's right to file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission;
      • Description of the procedure that the employer will follow to inform the complainant and the alleged harasser of the results of the investigation; and,
      • Statement that the employer's harassment policy is not intended to discourage or prevent the complainant from exercising any other legal rights pursuant to any other law.
  • Implement the policy in the workplace and post a copy of the policy in a conspicuous place so that workers can readily access the information for their reference.

As a supervisor you shall:

  • Make sure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that all workers under the supervisor’s direct supervision and direction are not exposed to harassment at the place of employment.

As a worker you shall:

  • Not cause or participate in the harassment of another worker.

Appeals

  • Any appeal that is made under subsection 3-53(1) about harassment or discriminatory action must be heard by an adjudicator, according to Part IV. and
  • The director of occupational health and safety is responsible to notify any person directly affected by the decision of the appeal relating to harassment or discriminatory action.

Inquiries

  • A ministry appointed occupational health officer may require any person who the occupational health officer has reasonable cause to believe possesses any information relating to allegations of harassment to attend an interview and provide full and correct answers to any questions that the occupational health officer believes it necessary to ask.
  • The interview is to be conducted with the occupational health officer, any persons required or allowed by the occupational health officer and a person nominated by the person being interviewed.
  • All persons must comply with the requirements asked of them by law.

Powers of Adjudicator

  • If there is an appeal related to harassment or discriminatory action, the adjudicator must make every reasonable effort to meet with the parties affected by the decision of the occupational health officer that is being appealed with a view to encouraging a settlement of the matter.  If there is agreement, use mediation or other procedure to encourage settlement either before the hearing or during the hearing.

SASKATCHEWAN EMPLOYMENT ACT
S.S. 2013, c. S-15.1

Part III OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

Section 3-1 Interpretation of Part

3-1. (1) In this Part and in Part IV:

(a) "biological substance" means a substance containing living organisms, including infectious micro-organisms, or parts of organisms or products of organisms in their natural or modified forms;

(b) "chemical substance" means any natural or artificial substance, whether in the form of a solid, liquid, gas or vapour, other than a biological substance;

(c) "chief mines inspector" means the chief mines inspector appointed pursuant to section 3-5;

(d) "chief occupational medical officer" means the chief occupational medical officer appointed pursuant to section 3-4;

(e) "competent" means possessing knowledge, experience and training to perform a specific duty;

(f) "compliance undertaking" means a compliance undertaking entered into pursuant to section 3-38;

(g) "contractor" means a person who, or a partnership or group of persons that, pursuant to one or more contracts:

(i) directs the activities of one or more employers or self-employed persons involved in work at a place of employment; or

(ii) subject to subsection (3), retains an employer or self-employed person to perform work at a place of employment;

(h) "director of occupational health and safety" means the director of occupational health and safety appointed pursuant to section 3-3;

(i) "discriminatory action" means any action or threat of action by an employer that does or would adversely affect a worker with respect to any terms or conditions of employment or opportunity for promotion, and includes termination, layoff, suspension, demotion or transfer of a worker, discontinuation or elimination of a job, change of a job location, reduction in wages, change in hours of work, reprimand, coercion, intimidation or the imposition of any discipline or other penalty, but does not include:

(i) the temporary assignment of a worker to alternative work, pursuant to section 3-44, without loss of pay to the worker; or

(ii) the temporary assignment of a worker to alternative work, without loss of pay to the worker, while:

(A) steps are being taken for the purposes of clause 3-31(a) to satisfy the worker that any particular act or series of acts that the worker refused to perform pursuant to that clause is not unusually dangerous to the health or safety of the worker or any other person at the place of employment;

(B) the occupational health committee is conducting an investigation pursuant to clause 3-31(b) in relation to the worker’s refusal to perform any particular act or series of acts; or

(C) an occupational health officer is conducting an investigation requested by a worker or an employer pursuant to clause 3-32(a);

(j) "employer" means, subject to section 3-29, a person, firm, association or body that has, in connection with the operation of a place of employment, one or more workers in the service of the person, firm, association or body;

(k) "equipment" means any mechanical or non-mechanical article or device, and includes any machine, tool, appliance, apparatus, implement, service or utility, but does not include the personal property owned by an individual unless that property is used in the carrying on of an occupation;

(l) "harassment" means any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person:

(i) that either:

(A) is based on race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin; or

(B) subject to subsections (4) and (5), adversely affects the worker’s psychological or physical well-being and that the person knows or ought reasonably to know would cause a worker to be humiliated or intimidated; and

(ii) that constitutes a threat to the health or safety of the worker;

(m) "notice of contravention" means a notice of contravention served pursuant to section 3-38;

(n) "occupation" means employment, business, calling or pursuit;

(o) "occupational health and safety" means:

(i) the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers;

(ii) the prevention among workers of ill health caused by their working conditions;

(iii) the protection of workers in their employment from factors adverse to their health;

(iv) the placing and maintenance of workers in working environments that are adapted to their individual physiological and psychological conditions; and

(v) the promotion and maintenance of a working environment that is free of harassment;

(p) "occupational health and safety representative" means an occupational health and safety representative designated pursuant to section 3-24;

(q) "occupational health and safety service" means a service organized in or near a place of employment for the purposes of:

(i) protecting workers against any health or safety hazard that may arise out of their work or the working conditions under which it is carried on;

(ii) contributing to the workers’ physical and mental adjustment in their employment and their assignment to jobs for which they are suited; and

(iii) contributing to the establishment and maintenance of a high degree of physical and mental well-being in the workers;

(r) "occupational health committee" means an occupational health committee established pursuant to section 3-22 or 3-23 or the regulations made pursuant to this Part;

(s) "occupational health officer" means a person appointed as an occupational health officer pursuant to section 3-6;

(t) "owner" includes:

(i) a trustee, receiver, mortgagee in possession, tenant, lessee or occupier of any lands or premises used or to be used as a place of employment; and

(ii) any person who acts for or on behalf of a person mentioned in subclause (i) as that person’s agent or delegate;

(u) "physician" means a duly qualified medical practitioner;

(v) "place of employment" means any plant in or on which one or more workers or self-employed persons work, usually work or have worked;

(w) "plant" includes any premises, site, land, mine, water, structure, fixture or equipment employed or used in the carrying on of an occupation;

(x) "practicable" means possible given current knowledge, technology and invention;

(y) "prime contractor" means the person who is the prime contractor in accordance with section 3-13;

(z) "reasonably practicable" means practicable unless the person on whom a duty is placed can show that there is a gross disproportion between the benefit of the duty and the cost, in time, trouble and money, of the measures to secure the duty;

(aa) "registered nurse" means a nurse registered pursuant to The Registered Nurses Act, 1988;

(bb) "self-employed person" means a person who is engaged in an occupation but is not in the service of an employer;

(cc) "structure" includes any building, support for equipment, factory, road, dam, bridge, waterway, dock, railway or excavation;

(dd) "supervisor" means an individual who is authorized by an employer to oversee or direct the work of the employer’s worker;

(ee) "supplier" means, unless otherwise stated, a person who supplies, sells, offers or exposes for sale, leases, distributes or installs any biological substance or chemical substance or any plant to be used at a place of employment;

(ff) "train" means to give information and explanation to a worker with respect to a particular subject-matter and to require a practical demonstration that the worker has acquired knowledge or skill related to the subject-matter;

(gg) "worker" means:

(i) an individual, including a supervisor, who is engaged in the service of an employer; or

(ii) a member of a prescribed category of individuals;

but does not include an inmate, as defined in The Correctional Services Act, 2012, of a correctional facility as defined in that Act who is participating in a work project or rehabilitation program within the correctional facility;

(hh) "worksite" means an area at a place of employment where a worker works or is required or permitted to be present.

(2) In this Part:

(a) if a provision refers to any matter or thing that an employer is required to do in relation to workers, the provision applies to workers who are in the service of that employer, unless the context requires otherwise; and

(b) if a provision refers to any matter or thing that an employer is required to do in relation to a place of employment, the provision applies to every place of employment of that employer, unless the context requires otherwise.

(3) For the purposes of subclause (1)(g)(ii), a person, partnership or group of persons is considered to be a contractor only if that person, partnership or group of persons knows or ought reasonably to know the provisions of this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part respecting the work or the place of employment at the time of retaining the employer or self-employed person to perform work at a place of employment.

(4) To constitute harassment for the purposes of paragraph (1)(l)(i)(B), either of the following must be established:

(a) repeated conduct, comments, displays, actions or gestures;

(b) a single, serious occurrence of conduct, or a single, serious comment, display, action or gesture, that has a lasting, harmful effect on the worker.

(5) For the purposes of paragraph (1)(l)(i)(B), harassment does not include any reasonable action that is taken by an employer, or a manager or supervisor employed or engaged by an employer, relating to the management and direction of the employer’s workers or the place of employment.

Section 3-8 General duties of employer

3-8. Every employer shall:

(a) ensure, insofar as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all of the employer’s workers;

(b) consult and cooperate in a timely manner with any occupational health committee or the occupational health and safety representative at the place of employment for the purpose of resolving concerns on matters of health, safety and welfare at work;

(c) make a reasonable attempt to resolve, in a timely manner, concerns raised by an occupational health committee or occupational health and safety representative pursuant to clause (b);

(d) ensure, insofar as is reasonably practicable, that the employer’s workers are not exposed to harassment with respect to any matter or circumstance arising out of the workers’ employment;

(e) cooperate with any other person exercising a duty imposed by this Part or the regulations made pursuant to this Part;

(f) ensure that:

(i) the employer’s workers are trained in all matters that are necessary to protect their health, safety and welfare; and

(ii) all work at the place of employment is sufficiently and competently supervised;

(g) if the employer is required to designate an occupational health and safety representative for a place of employment, ensure that written records of meetings with the occupational health and safety representative are kept and are readily available at the place of employment;

(h) ensure, insofar as is reasonably practicable, that the activities of the employer’s workers at a place of employment do not negatively affect the health, safety or welfare at work of the employer, other workers or any self-employed person at the place of employment; and

(i) comply with this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part.

Section 3-9 General duties of supervisors

3-9. Every supervisor shall:

(a) ensure, insofar as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of all workers who work under the supervisor’s direct supervision and direction;

(b) ensure that workers under the supervisor’s direct supervision and direction comply with this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part;

(c) ensure, insofar as is reasonably practicable, that all workers under the supervisor’s direct supervision and direction are not exposed to harassment at the place of employment;

(d) cooperate with any other person exercising a duty imposed by this Part or the regulations made pursuant to this Part; and

(e) comply with this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part.

Section 3-10 General duties of workers

3-10. Every worker while at work shall:

(a) take reasonable care to protect his or her health and safety and the health and safety of other workers who may be affected by his or her acts or omissions;

(b) refrain from causing or participating in the harassment of another worker;

(c) cooperate with any other person exercising a duty imposed by this Part or the regulations made pursuant to this Part; and

(d) comply with this Part and the regulations made pursuant to this Part.

Section 3-52 Interpretation of Division

3-52. (1) In this Division:

(a) "adjudicator" means an adjudicator appointed pursuant to Part IV;

(b) "decision" includes:

(i) a decision to grant an exemption;

(ii) a decision to issue, affirm, amend or cancel a notice of contravention or to not issue a notice of contravention; and

(iii) any other determination or action of an occupational health officer that is authorized by this Part.

(2) In this Division and in Part IV, "person who is directly affected by a decision" means any of the following persons to whom a decision of an occupational health officer is directed and who is directly affected by that decision:

(a) a worker;

(b) an employer;

(c) a self-employed person;

(d) a contractor;

(e) a prime contractor;

(f) an owner;

(g) a supplier;

(h) any other prescribed person or member of a category of prescribed persons;

but does not include any prescribed person or category of prescribed persons.

Section 3-53 Appeal of occupational health officer decision

3-53. (1) A person who is directly affected by a decision of an occupational health officer may appeal the decision.

(2) An appeal pursuant to subsection (1) must be commenced by filing a written notice of appeal with the director of occupational health and safety within 15 business days after the date of service of the decision being appealed.

(3) The written notice of appeal must:

(a) set out the names of all persons who are directly affected by the decision that is being appealed;

(b) identify and state the decision being appealed;

(c) set out the grounds of the appeal; and

(d) set out the relief requested, including any request for the suspension of all or any portion of the decision being appealed.

(4) Subject to subsection (10) and section 3-54, an appeal pursuant to subsection (1) is to be conducted by the director of occupational health and safety.

(5) In conducting an appeal pursuant to subsection (1), the director of occupational health and safety shall:

(a) provide notice of the appeal to persons who are directly affected by the decision; and

(b) provide an opportunity to the persons who are directly affected by the decision to make written representations to the director as to whether the decision should be affirmed, amended or cancelled.

(6) The written representations by a person mentioned in clause (5)(b) must be made within:

(a) 30 days after notice of appeal is provided to that person; or

(b) any further period permitted by the director of occupational health and safety.

(7) The director of occupational health and safety is not required to give an oral hearing with respect to an appeal pursuant to subsection (1).

(8) After conducting an appeal in accordance with this section, the director of occupational health and safety shall:

(a) affirm, amend or cancel the decision being appealed; and

(b) provide written reasons for the decision made pursuant to clause (a).

(9) The director of occupational health and safety shall serve a copy of a decision made pursuant to subsection (8) on all persons who are directly affected by the decision.

(10) Instead of hearing an appeal pursuant to this section, the director of occupational health and safety may refer the appeal to an adjudicator by forwarding to the adjudicator:

(a) the notice of appeal;

(b) all information in the director’s possession that is related to the appeal; and

(c) a list of all persons who are directly affected by the decision.

Section 3-54 Appeals re harassment or discriminatory action

3-54. (1) An appeal mentioned in subsection 3-53(1) with respect to any matter involving harassment or discriminatory action is to be heard by an adjudicator in accordance with Part IV.

(2) The director of occupational health and safety shall provide notice of the appeal mentioned in subsection (1) to persons who are directly affected by the decision.

Section 3-67 Inquiry

3-67. (1) Subject to subsection (2), an occupational health officer may require any person who the occupational health officer has reasonable cause to believe possesses any information respecting a work related fatality, serious injury or allegation of harassment to attend an interview and provide full and correct answers to any questions that the occupational health officer believes it necessary to ask.

(2) An interview held pursuant to subsection (1) is to be held in the absence of persons other than:

(a) a person nominated to be present by the person being interviewed; and

(b) any other persons whom the occupational health officer may allow to be present.

(3) No person shall fail to comply with a requirement imposed on the person pursuant to this section.

Part IV APPEALS AND HEARINGS RE PARTS II AND III

Section 4-1 Adjudicators

4-1. (1) After any consultation by the minister with labour organizations and employer associations that the minister considers appropriate, the Lieutenant Governor in Council may appoint as adjudicators for the purpose of hearing appeals or conducting hearings pursuant to Parts II and III one or more individuals who possess the prescribed qualifications.

(2) An adjudicator appointed pursuant to subsection (1):

(a) holds office at pleasure for a term not exceeding three years and until a successor is appointed; and

(b) may be reappointed.

(3) If the term of an adjudicator expires after the adjudicator has begun hearing a matter but before the hearing is completed, the adjudicator may continue with the hearing as if his or her term had not expired, and the decision is effective as though he or she still held office.

(4) Adjudicators are to be paid:

(a) remuneration for their services at the rates approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council; and

(b) reimbursement for their expenses incurred in the performance of their responsibilities at rates approved for members of the public service.

Section 4-5 Powers of adjudicator

4-5. (1) In conducting an appeal or a hearing pursuant to this Part, an adjudicator has the following powers:

(a) to require any party to provide particulars before or during an appeal or a hearing;

(b) to require any party to produce documents or things that may be relevant to a matter before the adjudicator and to do so before or during an appeal or a hearing;

(c) to do all or any of the following to the same extent as those powers are vested in the Court of Queen’s Bench for the trial of civil actions:

(i) to summon and enforce the attendance of witnesses;

(ii) to compel witnesses to give evidence on oath or otherwise;

(iii) to compel witnesses to produce documents or things;

(d) to administer oaths and affirmations;

(e) to receive and accept any evidence and information on oath, affirmation, affidavit or otherwise that the adjudicator considers appropriate, whether admissible in a court of law or not;

(f) to conduct any appeal or hearing using a means of telecommunications that permits the parties and the adjudicator to communicate with each other simultaneously;

(g) to adjourn or postpone the appeal or hearing.

(2) With respect to an appeal pursuant to section 3-54 respecting a matter involving harassment or a discriminatory action, the adjudicator:

(a) shall make every effort that the adjudicator considers reasonable to meet with the parties affected by the decision of the occupational health officer that is being appealed with a view to encouraging a settlement of the matter that is the subject of the occupational health officer’s decision; and

(b) with the agreement of the parties, may use mediation or other procedures to encourage a settlement of the matter mentioned in clause (a) at any time before or during a hearing pursuant to this section.

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996
S.S., c. O-1.1, Reg 1

Part III General Duties

Section 36 Harassment

36. (1) An employer, in consultation with the committee, shall develop a policy in writing to prevent harassment that includes:

(a) a definition of harassment that includes the definition in the Act;

(b) a statement that every worker is entitled to employment free of harassment;

(c) a commitment that the employer will make every reasonably practicable effort to ensure that no worker is subjected to harassment;

(d) a commitment that the employer will take corrective action respecting any person under the employer's direction who subjects any worker to harassment;

(e) an explanation of how complaints of harassment may be brought to the attention of the employer;

(f) a statement that the employer will not disclose the name of a complainant or an alleged harasser or the circumstances related to the complaint to any person except where disclosure is:

(i) necessary for the purposes of investigating the complaint or taking corrective action with respect to the complaint; or

(ii) required by law;

(g) a reference to the provisions of the Act respecting harassment and the worker's right to request the assistance of an occupational health officer to resolve a complaint of harassment;

(h) a reference to the provisions of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code respecting discriminatory practices and the worker's right to file a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission;

(i) a description of the procedure that the employer will follow to inform the complainant and the alleged harasser of the results of the investigation; and

(j) a statement that the employer's harassment policy is not intended to discourage or prevent the complainant from exercising any other legal rights pursuant to any other law.

(2) An employer shall:

(a) implement the policy developed pursuant to subsection (1); and

(b) post a copy of the policy in a conspicuous place that is readily available for reference by workers.