VWP Course page 4 | Industrial & Construction Safety Solutions



Violence Policy



  • Includes any distinction, exclusion, or preference based on the protected grounds in the Ontario Human Rights Code, which nullifies or impairs equality or opportunity in employment or equality in the terms and conditions of employment

The protected grounds of discrimination are:

  • Race, colour, ancestry, citizenship, ethnic origin, or place of origin
  • Creed, religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Family, marital or same sex relationship status
  • Disability or perceived disability
  • A record of offences for which a pardon has been granted under the Criminal Records Act and has not been revoked, or an offence in respect of any provincial enactment


  • Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in the workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome

Sexual Harassment:

  • Includes conduct or comments of a sexual nature that the recipient does not welcome or that offended him or her. It also includes negative or inappropriate conduct or comments that are not necessarily sexual in nature, but which are directed at an individual because of his or her gender. Both men and women can be victims of harassment and someone of the same or opposite sex can harass someone else

Examples of sexual harassment:

  • Sexual advances or demands that the recipient does not welcome or want
  • Threats, punishment, or denial of a benefit for refusing a sexual advance
  • Offering a benefit in exchange for sexual favour
  • Leering
  • Displaying sexually offensive material such as posters, pictures, calendars, cartoons, screen savers, pornographic or erotic websites or other electronic material
  • Distributing sexually explicit email messages or attachments such as pictures or video files
  • Sexually suggestive or obscene comments or gestures
  • Unwelcome remarks, jokes, innuendos, propositions, or taunting about a person’s body, clothing, or sex
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature, such as touching or caressing
  • Sexual assault

Discriminatory Harassment

Includes comments or conduct based on the protected grounds in the Ontario Human Rights Code, which the recipient does not welcome or that offends him or her


  • Offensive comments, jokes, or behavior that disparage or ridicule a person’s membership in one of the protected grounds (race, religion, or sexual orientation)
  • Imitating a person’s accent, speech, or mannerisms
  • Persistent or inappropriate questions about whether a person is pregnant, has children or plans to have children
  • Inappropriate comments or jokes about an individual’s age, sexual orientation, personal appearance, or weight
  • Psychological Harassment

Bullying or humiliating behavior that:

  • Is generally repetitive, although a single serious incident of such behavior may constitute psychological harassment if it undermines the recipient’s psychological or physical integrity and has a lasting harmful effect
  • Is hostile, abusive, or inappropriate
  • Affects the person’s dignity or psychological integrity, and results in a poisoned work environment
  • Should not be confused with legitimate management actions, including measures to correct performance deficiencies or to implement discipline for work infractions

Examples of psychological harassment are:

  • Verbally abusive behavior (yelling insults, and name calling)
  • Persistent, excessive, and unjustified criticism and constant scrutiny
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Excluding or ignoring someone
  • Undermining someone else’s efforts by setting impossible goals and deadlines
  • Sabotaging someone else’s work
  • Impeding an individual’s efforts at promotions or transfers
  • Making false allegations about someone in memos or other work related documents

Workplace Violence

  • The exercise of physical force by a person against a worker, in a workplace, that causes or could cause physical injury to the worker
  • An attempt to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace that could cause physical injury to the worker
  • A statement or behavior that is reasonable for a worker to interpret as a threat to exercise physical force against a worker, in a workplace, that could cause physical injury to the worker
  • Includes acts of aggression, physical assaults or threats. Some examples are:
  • Physically abusive or aggressive behavior such as pushing, hitting, biting, finger pointing, or standing close to someone in an aggressive manner
  • Using or threatening to use a weapon

Poisoned Work Environment

Even if no one is being directly targeted, harassing comments or conduct can poison the work environment, making it a hostile or uncomfortable place in which to work

Examples include:

  • Displaying offensive or sexual materials such as posters, pictures, calendars, websites or screen savers
  • Distributing offensive email messages or attachments such as pictures or videos
  • Practical jokes that embarrass or insult someone
  • Jokes or insults that are offensive, racist, or discriminatory in nature

The Test of Harassment

It does not matter whether the harasser intended to offend the recipient, the test is whether the harasser knew or should have known that the comments or conduct were unwelcome

Although it is commonly the case, the harasser does not necessarily have the power or authority over the victim


It is our mutual responsibility to ensure that we create and maintain a workplace free of violence, harassment, and discrimination

Incident Reporting Procedure

If you believe that someone, who is not a member of the corporation (customer, supplier, etc.) has violated this policy, please report it to your supervisor. A violation of this policy is a serious matter. Therefore, if you decide not to make a formal complaint, the matter will still need to be investigated and steps should be taken to prevent further incidents.

The sensitive nature of complaints means that all complaints should be kept confidential, to the extent that the employer is able to do so. Information should only be released as much as is necessary to investigate and respond to the complaint. Out of respect for the relevant individuals, it is essential that the complainant, respondent, witness and anyone else involved in the formal investigation of a complain maintain confidentiality throughout the investigation and afterwards

Informal Procedure:

  • If you believe that this policy is being violated, the first thing to do is tell the person to stop
  • Do so as soon as you receive any unwelcome comments or conduct
  • Although this may be difficult to do, telling the person you don’t like their actions is often enough to stop the behavior

Formal Procedure:

  • If the complaint cannot be resolved informally or if it is too serious to handle on an informal basis, you may bring a formal complaint to the Human Resources Department
  • If you initiate a formal complaint, you will need as much written information as possible, including the names of the person, the place, date and time of the incident, and the names of any possible witnesses

It is important that your complaint is received as soon as possible so that the problem doesn’t escalate or happen again. Once the complaint is received a formal investigation can be initiated if it is necessary and appropriate

Investigation Procedure

An investigation will commence as quickly as possible, the company may choose to use either an internal or external investigator, depending on the nature of the complaint

This investigation will include:

  • Interviewing the complainant and respondent to ascertain all of the facts and circumstances relevant to the complaint, including dates and locations
  • Interviewing witnesses, if any
  • Reviewing any related documentation
  • Making detailed notes of the investigation and maintaining them in a confidential file
  • Once the investigation is complete the investigator(s) will prepare a detailed report of the findings to the employer. A summary of the findings will also be provided to the complainant and respondent

Corrective Action

  • The employer will determine what action should be taken as a result of the investigation
  • The complainant and respondent will be informed of the results of the investigation and whether (but not necessarily what) corrective measures were taken, if any were necessary
  • If the evidence supports the complaint the corporation will take appropriate measures, regardless of the respondent’s seniority or position with the corporation    

Corrective measures may include:

  • Discipline, such as verbal warning, written warning, or suspension without pay
  • Termination with or without cause
  • Referral for counselling or attendance at educational programs on workplace respect
  • Demotion or denial of promotion
  • Reassignment or transfer
  • Financial penalties such as the denial of a performance related salary increase
  • Any other disciplinary action deemed appropriate under the circumstances
  • If there is insufficient evidence to support the complaint corrective measures will not be taken

Protection from Retaliation

The corporation will not tolerate retaliation, taunts, or threats against anyone who complains about harassment or takes part in an investigation.

Any person who taunts, retaliates, or threatens anyone in relation to a harassment complaint may be disciplined or terminated.


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