Workplace Anti Violence Policy

HR-42
Workplace Anti Violence Policy
DepartmentHuman Resources
Creation DateJanuary 14, 2010
Approval DateJanuary 14, 2010
Effective DateJanuary 14, 2010

Organizational Scope

This policy applies to all Michener students, all employees, contractors, vendors and visitors on the Michener campus or any other non-campus facility (i.e. clinical sites) where they may have business as it relates to the protection of health, safety and well-being of Michener’s workers.

Purpose

Michener is committed to collaboratively building and preserving a healthy and safe environment free from workplace violence. In pursuit of this goal, Michener does not condone or tolerate acts of violence against members of its community by anyone.

Michener reserves the right to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker from workplace violence and workplace harassment. This policy and its associated procedure were adopted to meet the requirements set forth in the Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act (described hereinafter simply as the Safety Act) to address workplace violence. For policy or procedure information on harassment, refer to Harassment/ Sexual Harassment/ Discrimination Policy and Procedure.

Special notes: This policy derives from legislation geared towards health & safety for Workers. Students not employed by Michener and who may be affected by violence within Michener’s workplace environment are also covered by and accountable to the spirit of this policy. Students should follow the procedures set forth herein with the understanding that not all aspects regarding worker rights are necessarily applicable or afforded to non-workers.

Definitions

  1. Workplace Violence – as defined in the Safety Act for the purpose of use within this policy:

(a) the exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker,

(b) an attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker,

(c) a statement or behaviour that it is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against the worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker.

(d) includes domestic violence (i.e.: spousal/ partner abuse, family abuse) that would likely expose a worker to physical injury which may occur in the workplace.

(e) workplace violence is further defined herein for the purposes of this policy to include damaging employer or employee property; the possession of a firearm, weapon or dangerous weapon, explosives or explosive devices and any other item(s) through inappropriate misuse or abuse that could be used to inflict injury and/ or intimidation upon another individual including replicas of any of the aforementioned while on Michener property, other affiliated Michener workplace environment, while conducting Michener business and or while representing the Michener organization are strictly prohibited.

  1. Domestic Violence – any physical threat perpetrated by a person with whom the staff has a personal relationship outside the workplace. If an employer becomes aware, or ought reasonably to be aware, that domestic violence may occur in the workplace and would likely expose a worker to physical injury, Michener has a responsibility to protect its workers from domestic violence at their place of work.
  1. Workplace Harassment – means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome. Workplace harassment is addressed separately under the Harassment/ Sexual Harassment/ Discrimination Policy and should be referred there.
  1. Threats –Threatening behaviour includes, but is not limited to: throwing objects at another person (e.g. to inflict pain, injury or intimidation); verbal prediction of harm directed towards another individual or his/ her property; making threatening or menacing gestures; obsessive behaviour (e.g. unprofessional and/or excessive unwelcome romantic interest); any such behaviour that indicates or suggests  that the individual poses a danger to her/himself or others; escalation of unacceptable behaviour within the workplace (e.g. inappropriate behaviour triggered by personal circumstances such as an impending divorce, custody battle, etc.); any inappropriate electronic or cyber activity used for the purpose of violence, intimidation and/ or harassment.
  1. Workers – As defined in the Safety Act as a person who is paid to perform work or supply services for monetary compensation.
  1. Workplace – As defined in the Safety Act as anyplace in or near to where a worker works, such as any land premises, location or thing in, at, or upon. For example, workplace can include off campus locales such as social functions, during travel, over the phone or through any electronic/ non-electronic means of communication.
  1. Appropriate Authority – Delegated employee who has the authority to make final decisions regarding employees or students pertaining to claims and resulting actions where incidents of violence are concerned. Within The Michener Institute the Appropriate Authority is the Human Resources Representative for all employees. For incidences of violence where students are involved and no employees / workers are involved, the Appropriate Authority shall be the Dean of Students. If a worker and student are involved in an incidence of workplace violence, the Appropriate Authority shall be shared between the Dean of Students and Human Resources. In any case, pertaining to all incidences of workplace violence, the Appropriate Authority will convene and consult with the Threat Assessment Team. Federal law supersedes provincial law, municipal law or organizational policy and as such, depending on the nature of the complaint being addressed, external authorities may supersede Michener jurisdiction.

In the event that either the Dean of Students or the Director, Human Resources are both unable to fulfill the role of Appropriate Authority, either through absence or cause, the following will be the escalation protocol responsible for fulfilling the role of Appropriate Authority:

  • Vice President, Operations
  • Vice President, Academic
  • Member of Executive Leadership Team
  1. Complainant – A person who has been subjected to, witnessed or became aware of, or ought to have known about an alleged incidence of workplace violence. Complainants are obligated through this policy, to report incidents of workplace violence accordingly.
  1. Respondent – Someone who is alleged to have exercised, attempted exercise or threatened physical violence that causes, could cause, or provide reasonable belief of physical injury or harm.
  1. Retaliatory Acts – Any retaliation, retribution, or reprisal against a Complainant who reports an incident of alleged workplace violence, or against anyone who testifies or otherwise participates in an investigation or hearing relating to the allegation of workplace violence.
  1. Threat Assessment Team – Should an act of workplace violence occur, or if there is a reported risk of workplace violence, the Threat Assessment Team will gather and review information and develop plan of action accordingly in compliance with existing laws, applicable policies and procedures of the organization.

Policy

Safe Workplace & Freedom from Workplace Violence

Michener will reserve the right to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker from workplace violence regardless of whether it occurs amongst individuals within the organization or if the incident of workplace violence stems from an external source. As such, engaging in any violent activity, be it physical, verbal, written, electronic, or visual act that may knowingly or ought knowingly to lead someone to believe it could cause or causes physical harm, be it attempted, threatened, or exercised is forbidden and subject to serious repercussions.

Each member within the Michener community is responsible for their role in contributing to a safe and healthy work environment. We are accountable for ourselves and to each other in ensuring a safe workplace and learning environment from violence. This policy is intended to provide a general outline of the various parties’ respective responsibilities as they pertain to workplace violence including the obligation to report incidents of violence and how the incident reported will be addressed within the organization. 

Responsibilities

Employee Responsibilities:  All employees are ultimately accountable for their own actions and are expected at minimum to treat each other with respect and not engage in violent behaviour. Employees are obligated to:

  • read, understand, uphold and ultimately comply with this policy as part of their respective duties and responsibilities as workers set forth under the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act (Safety Act)
  • know the three basic rights of every worker as prescribed in the Safety Act:
    1. Right to know about any potential hazards to which they may be exposed.
    2. Right to participate and be part of the process of identifying and resolving health and safety concerns in their workplace.
  • Right to refuse unsafe work in accordance with the Safety Act which sets out the process and parameters that this can be exercised.

–        report to the Appropriate Authority (internally or externally) if they themselves are or they witness someone else being subjected to workplace violence, including domestic violence that may carry over into the workplace (reference: Workplace Anti-Violence Procedure)

–      report to the Appropriate Authority any possession / use of weapons in the workplace and or abuse or misuse of any item that could be used to inflict injury and/ or intimidation upon another individual.

  • co-operate accordingly with any investigation into an incident of workplace violence
  • respect the confidentiality of anyone involved in a complaint of workplace violence, including domestic violence

This policy encourages employees to freely express – in a responsible and orderly fashion – their thoughts, opinions, and feelings regarding harassment or violence complaints. Should an employee be harassed or threatened by an individual from outside the workplace and have reason to believe this person may physically harm them in any way, the employee is required to report concerns to their respective supervisor, manager or Appropriate Authority accordingly.

Manager Responsibilities:  Each manager and supervisor is responsible for fostering a safe working environment, free of workplace violence. Managers must set an example for appropriate workplace behaviour, and must deal with situations of workplace violence immediately upon becoming aware of them, whether or not there has been a complaint reported. They must also:

  • read, understand, uphold and ultimately comply with this policy
  • uphold the general duty on employers and supervisors to take all reasonable precautions to protect the safety of workers
  • report to the appropriate authorities (internally or externally) if they themselves witness or are made aware of someone else being subjected to workplace violence including domestic violence which may carry over into the workplace
  • co-operate accordingly with any investigation into the incident of workplace violence
  • respect the confidentiality of anyone involved in a workplace violence complaint, as prescribed
  • follow the duty to disclose to advise a worker where there is a risk of workplace violence including domestic violence that may carry over into the workplace, but will not provide more information in the circumstances than is reasonably necessary to protect the worker from physical injury

Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee  (JOHSC) or Health & Safety Representative Responsibilities: As part of their responsibilities of conducting routine workplace inspections and making recommendations for the protection and safety of workers,  JOHSC members will also:

  • read, understand, review as needed and comply with this policy
  • know the three basic rights of all workers and, where required, exercise the right to stop unsafe work as prescribed in the Occupational Health & Safety Act
  • report to the appropriate authorities (internally or externally) if they themselves are and / or they witness or have been made aware of someone else being, harassed or are being subjected to workplace violence (reference: Workplace Anti-Violence Procedure)
  • co-operate accordingly with any investigation into the incident of workplace violence
  • where a worker has refused to do particular work, and or perform a bi-lateral or uni-lateral work stoppage because workplace violence is likely to endanger, the JOHSC will follow refusal to work protocols including investigation and reporting as prescribed in the Safety Act
  • respect the confidentiality of anyone involved in a harassment or workplace violence complaint

Appropriate Authority:  The purpose of this role is to assess the situation at hand against this policy and determine ensuing action or response accordingly. The Appropriate Authority is responsible for:  

  • reading, understanding and complying with this policy
  • reporting to the appropriate authorities (internally or externally) if they themselves are and / or they witness or made aware of someone else being, harassed or are being subjected to workplace violence
  • convening the Threat Assessment Team according to the nature of the incident and the parties involved (workers / students)
  • conducting/ co-operating / participating accordingly with any investigation into the incident of workplace violence, which may or may not include background checks on any and all potential employees who may pose any threat to the safety of him/herself and others in the workplace
  • respecting the confidentiality of anyone involved in a workplace violence complaint
  • supporting individual worker needs by referring to appropriate resources such as the Employee Assistance Program
  • reporting to the Executive Leadership Team or one of its individual members accordingly, depending on the nature and or severity of the situation being addressed

Student Responsibilities:  All students are ultimately accountable for their own actions and are subject to the Standards of Professional Behaviour. As such, students  are required at minimum to treat each other with respect and not engage in violent behaviour. As it pertains to this policy, students are obligated to:

  • read, understand, uphold and ultimately comply with this policy
  • report to the Appropriate Authority if they themselves are and/ or they witness someone else being subjected to workplace violence, including domestic violence that may carry over into the workplace (reference: Workplace Anti-Violence Procedure), possession/ use of weapons in the workplace and or abuse or misuse of any item that could be used to inflict injury and/ or intimidation upon another individual.
  • co-operate accordingly with any investigation into the incident of workplace violence
  • respect the confidentiality of anyone involved in a workplace violence, including domestic violence, complaint

Threat Assessment Team Responsibilities: The purpose of the Threat Assessment Team (formerly known as the RIACT (Risk Intervention, Assessment & Control Team) Policy) is to examine and minimize or prevent the impact of incidences of violence (attempted, threatened, exercised) to ultimately protect the Michener community.  Composed of various members from the organization, the goal is to be supportive in addition to efficiently and effectively make decisions or take action regarding those involved and addressing the incident of violence at hand.

Members of the Threat Assessment Team:

  • Human Resources
  • Director, Facilities and Building Operations
  • Health Nurse
  • Counsellor for Students (as required or if a Student is involved)
  • Dean of Students (as required or if a Student is involved)
  • Additional members of the community as required

Threat Assessment Team responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • incident report review
  • information gathering
  • safety plan
  • counselling and support planning
  • organizational debrief/ communication strategy
  • post incident action plan for prevention

Consequences

Reprisal/ Retaliation: In no case shall anyone who reports threats or acts of violence be retaliated against (e.g. retaliation through disciplinary action). Retaliatory Acts include (but are not limited to) interference, coercion, threats, physical restraint, workload reassignments, academic discipline or punishment, denial of promotion, social exclusion, isolation or embarrassment, or any other manner of overt or subtle retribution. Any acts of retaliation against a complainant or participant involved in an incidence of violence investigation are in direct violation with this policy and must be reported immediately to the Appropriate Authority.

Abuse of Policy: Due to the gravity and severity of consequences relating to incidences of violence, malicious, frivolous or vexatious complaints or knowingly making a false complaint of harassment or violence, or to provide false information about an incident or complaint is a violation of this policy and will not be tolerated and is subject to the consequences accordingly. Individuals who violate this Policy or the spirit of what it sets out to achieve are subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action, up to and including termination of employment, academic dismissal and possible criminal prosecution.

Scope of Policy: Although this policy and procedure are guided by the Safety Act, incidents that are suspected of constituting criminal acts are subject to the Canadian Criminal Code and will be referred accordingly to the proper authorities. Michener will follow its legal obligation in cooperating accordingly with external law enforcement agencies, attorneys, insurance companies and courts to the fullest extent.

Appendix 1: Procedure

Special Note: This procedure replaces Michener’s Abusive or Threatening Behaviour Protocol.

This procedure addresses the means and processes of dealing with Workplace Violence through the following steps:

  1. Reporting
    • Witness / Victim
      • Immediate Assistance
      • Non-Immediate Assistance
    • Manager / Supervisor Reporting
      • Immediate Assistance
      • Non-Immediate Assistance
  1. Initial Assessment of Complaint (Appropriate Authority Process)
    • Immediate Assistance
    • Non-Immediate Assistance
  1. Threat Assessment Team
    • Immediate Response
    • Non-Immediate Response
  1. Incident Review & Investigation
    • Document Collection & Review
    • Investigation
  1. Report Findings
  1. Post-Incident Support

1.0  Reporting – the following section describes procedures for obligatory reporting of workplace violence.

1.1 Witness/  Victim/ Indirect Reporting This process is to be followed where instances of workplace violence are experienced directly by an individual or witnessed directly or indirectly by a 3rd party member. Although reporting should be done immediately following an incident or as soon after becoming aware, before taking any action to address an incident of workplace violence, ensuring personal safety is maintained is first and foremost.

1.1.1    Immediate Assistance

For incidents where imminent danger or immediate harm is present, occurring or has occurred and has potential for recurrence

  1. Call 9-911 (from any internal phone)
  2. Call Security (x3333) or Reception (x0) to alert them that the Police have been called.
  • Advise either your immediate Supervisor/ Manager, Faculty/ Chair, or Appropriate Authority
  1. If required, administer first aid or seek assistance from First Aid provider
  2. Cooperate with investigation as required
  3. Complete internal Workplace Violence/ Harassment Incident Report (see final page of Procedure)
1.1.2    Non-Immediate Assistance

For instances where threats of harm exist or potential for escalation is present but no immediate physical danger to health or safety.

  • Advise either your immediate Supervisor/ Manager, Faculty/ Chair (in the case of Students), or Appropriate Authority
  1. ii) Cooperate with investigation as required
  • Complete internal Workplace Violence/ Harassment Incident Report

Note: Incidents that constitute criminal acts (whether felony or misdemeanour) must also be referred to Toronto Police.

1.2 Manager/ SupervisorThis process is to be followed when a Manager or Supervisor witnesses/ experiences directly and/ or is indirectly made aware of an incidence of violence including domestic violence. The first priority shall be to determine if the health or safety of individuals is at imminent risk for injury or harm and to take action accordingly.

1.2.1    Immediate Assistance

For incidents where imminent danger or immediate harm is present, occurring or has occurred and has potential for recurrence

  1. i) Call 9-911 (from any internal phone).
  2. ii) Call Security (x3333) or Reception (x0) to alert them that the Police have been called.

iii)      Advise either your immediate Supervisor/ Manager or Appropriate Authority

  1. v) If required, administer first aid or seek assistance from First Aid provider
  2. vi) Provide/ Make available assistance as required (such as through the Employee Assistance Program)

vii)     Cooperate with investigation as required

viii)    Complete internal Workplace Violence/ Harassment Incident Report

1.2.2    Non-Immediate Assistance

Instances where threats of harm or potential for escalation is present but no immediate physical danger to health or safety.

  1. i) Advise immediate Supervisor/ Manager or Human Resources Manager or Manager, Health Safety & Emergency Planning, or Appropriate Authority
  2. ii) Provide/ Make available assistance as required (such as through the Employee Assistance Program)

iii)        Cooperate with investigation as required

  1. iv) Complete internal Workplace Violence/ Harassment Incident Report

Note: Incidents that constitute criminal acts (whether felony or misdemeanour) must also be referred to Toronto Police.

2.0  Initial assessment of complaint (Appropriate Authority process) – Once the Appropriate Authority receives the complaint, they shall first determine if the health or safety of individuals is at imminent risk of injury or harm and take action accordingly for the protection of health and safety.

2.1.1    Immediate Assistance

For incidents where imminent danger or immediate harm is present, occurring or has occurred but has potential for recurrence.

  1. i) Call 9-911 (from any internal phone).
  2. ii) Call Security (x3333) or Reception (x0) to alert them that the Police have been called.

iii)        If required, administer first aid or seek assistance from First Aid provider

  1. iv) Provide/ Make available assistance as required (such as through the Employee Assistance Program)
2.1.2    Non-Immediate Assistance

For instances where threats of harm or potential for escalation is present but no immediate or imminent physical danger to health or safety exists.

  1. i) Provide/ Make available assistance as required (such as through the Employee Assistance Program)

Note: Incidents that constitute criminal acts (whether felony or misdemeanour) must also be referred to Toronto Police.

The Appropriate Authority will then review the complaint within the scope of this policy, and shall advise the Complainant in writing if:

  • the complaint does not fall within the definitions outlined in the policy, is not subject to this policy, and should be pursued through an alternate mechanism;
  • the subject matter has been found to be frivolous, vexatious or in bad faith;
  • the complaint appears to be outside the jurisdiction of The Michener Institute; or,
  • the complaint cannot be supported or substantiated
2.1.3    Convene the Threat Assessment Team

If the determination is made that the complaint is within the scope of this policy and the actions or activity in question found to be in violation of this policy, the Appropriate Authority will:

  • convene the Threat Assessment Team
  • determine whether the Executive Leadership Team or its individual members is to be notified or engaged
  • be responsible for notifying and/ or engaging the Executive Leadership Team or its individual members accordingly where appropriate

3.0 Threat Assessment Team – the following section describes procedures for convening the Threat Assessment Team.

3.1.1    Immediate Response

The Threat Assessment Team shall convene immediately upon the prompting of the Appropriate Authority and receipt of a written report of workplace violence with either of the following situational conditions:

  1. i) where violence or threat of imminent danger or immediate harm is present or has occurred and/ or has potential for recurrence
  2. ii) extreme or egregious threats of violence or harm that have the potential to endanger a multitude of people and/ or cause substantial damage to the physical property

iii)        during a work refusal – where the worker stops work or refuses unsafe work due to workplace violence.

Note: The Joint Occupational Health & Safety Committee must also be notified in the event of a work refusal as prescribed under the Safety Act.

3.1.2    Non-Immediate Response

The Threat Assessment Team shall strive to convene as promptly as possible upon receipt of any written report of workplace violence, and shall not exceed longer than two (2) working days from receipt of written report and/ or at the Appropriate Authority’s prompting. Non-immediate response applies during (but is not limited to or wholly defined by) the following situational conditions:

  1. i) where violence or threat of danger or harm is no longer immediate, imminent or has already occurred and/ or
  2. ii) potential for recurrence has been temporarily addressed (i.e.: temporary relocation, removal, absence or suspension of alleged Respondents and/ or other individuals)

If the determination is made that the complaint is within the scope of this policy and the actions or activity in question found to be in violation of this policy, the Appropriate Authority will:

  • convene the Threat Assessment Team
  • determine whether the Executive Leadership Team or its individual members is to be notified or engaged
  • be responsible for notifying and/ or engaging the Executive Leadership Team or its individual members accordingly where appropriate

4.0  Incident review & Investigation

4.1.1    Document Collection & Review

The Threat Assessment Team will review:

      • all incident report forms
      • gather necessary information as it pertains to the individuals involved (i.e.: student files, employee files)
      • refer to existing pertinent Michener policies that apply to the situation or individuals involved which may provide guidelines for due process and procedures in the event of appeals where applicable
      • request and review any legal court orders (e.g. restraining order, or “no-contact” order) held by employees or students. (Required in cases where the employee / student feels that the Respondent may attempt to contact them at the workplace, in direct violation of the court order.)

All information accessed and reviewed during this process shall be kept confidential wherever possible to the extent required by law.

4.1.2    Investigation

The Threat Assessment Team will be responsible for conducting an investigation that includes but is not limited to:

  • level of risk, i.e., weapons, physical assault or verbal threats
  • history of violent behaviour
  • likelihood of reoccurrence
  • criminal involvement
  • extenuating circumstances of the event, i.e. past involvement between parties; medical or psychological considerations
  • consulting with individuals directly involved in the incident, witnesses and anyone that may be deemed as having valuable information
  • requesting and receiving documents or things that may be relevant to the investigation and/ or the complaint

All records of violence reports, investigations, and subsequent findings are considered confidential. Michener will do everything it can to protect the privacy of the individuals involved and to ensure that Complainants and Respondents are treated fairly and respectfully. Michener will protect this privacy so long as doing so remains consistent with the enforcement of this policy and adherence to the law.

5.0  Report Findings & Disclosure

At the conclusion of an investigation, a written report will be provided and may be subject to review and or approval by the Executive Leadership Team where necessary. The report may include a statement of factual findings and a determination of whether, on a balance of probabilities, this policy has been violated. It will also set forth the consequences decided as a result of the investigation. Disciplinary or corrective action may be taken, up to and including suspension of duties or termination of employment, for any employees in violation of this policy. Likewise, students may be disciplined in accordance with Michener’s Academic Policy and may be subject to academic discipline up to and including expulsion.

Incidents that are suspected of constituting criminal acts will be referred accordingly to the proper authorities. All findings as a result of the process of addressing workplace violence complaints will be regarded as confidential, but Michener will follow its legal obligation in cooperating accordingly with external law enforcement agencies, attorneys, insurance companies and courts to the fullest extent.

As prescribed in the Safety Act, Michener is duty bound to advise or provide information to a worker related to a risk of workplace violence if

(a) the worker can be expected to encounter that person in the course of his or her work; and

(b) the risk of workplace violence is likely to expose the worker to physical injury

However, no more personal information will be revealed in the circumstances than is reasonably necessary to protect the worker from physical injury.

6.0  Post-incident support Incidents of violence, at any stage of the process, can bear negative effects on those it has affected directly as well as indirectly, especially if it has gone unaddressed for any length of time. Michener supports and encourages the use of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for immediate and confidential help for any concern/s of employees subject to workplace violence or harassment.  Individuals may contact:

Employee Assistance Program (ComPsych)

1-866-641-3847

1-877-373-4763 (TDD)

April 16, 2018

Emma pavlov Signature

Emma Pavlov
Executive Vice-President, Michener Operations

Associated Documentation

Occupational Health & Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990
Harassment, Sexual Harassment, Discrimination Policy and Procedure
Professionalism Policy
Ontario Human Rights Code
Criminal Code of Canada
Workplace Violence Incident Report