New regulations on workplace harassment in Manitoba came into effect on February 1, 2011. Much like Ontario’s Bill 168, the new regulations have been expanded to include workplace bullying. Examples provided in the brochure issued by the government explain that this type of harassment can be “severe, repeated conduct that adversely affects a worker’s psychological or physical well being” or “a single occurrence, if shown to have a lasting, harmful effect on a person.”
How does this effect Manitoban workers?
Workers now have to right to claim psychological harassment in a way that they previously couldn’t – that is, they are no longer limited to claiming harassment based upon specific prohibited grounds like age, race or gender.
What’s the payoff for employers?
Coming up with policies that aim to prevent and manage workplace harassment provides two tangible economic benefits for employers: (1) Less money is paid out in court damages and (2) Happier workers are generally more productive.
Although the benefits of this new regulation seem clear, it comes with a caveat. Relaxed regulations on the types of cases that human rights tribunals hear will likely lead to an increase in emotionally-driven complaints. Employees should exercise caution and remember that not every argument and crooked glance amounts to harassment.