Canadian HR Reporter

February 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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4 www.hrreporter.com N E W S "That will raise awareness not only of the contribution that women can make but of the impact of certain actions." When the crisis hits, transparency is key, says Williams. "A lot of times, senior leader leadership doesn't share… but that can create a lot of uncertainty for people. And we know that uncertainty is not a good thing; it can create a lot of fear within the organization. So, it is the job of senior leadership to be really transparent in uncertain times and to share information." Is termination necessary? In most high-profile cases, the offending executives are removed from their post or step down. But is a full departure always necessary? "I'm not in favour of that unless it's really severe because of the unintended consequences that come out of that. If you're rushing every male [out the door] — it's usually a male that is accused or even found to have been guilty of some transgression… I think it will increase the level of fear people have around reporting it. And you're not doing anything to educate that executive on what they've done wrong," says Candido. "Unless it's really egregious, I'm not generally in favor of a termination because I don' t think it really accomplishes anything," she says. "I would like to see more things like mentoring by other male colleagues on why that was wrong and what you should be doing instead… Before there's a transgression, be a little more proactive about it." But in the majority of instances, sexual impropriety in the workplace is very serious and should almost always result in dismissal — even for one instance, says Sheard. "There's always nuance and there's always a counterexample in the law. But if you want a really quick and dirty summary, I would say if there's physical, unwanted contact involved, you've got a shot at just cause even on the first instance; and if there's nothing physical, it's almost always going to fail on the first instance. But then, if you're warned and you do it again, even the verbal ones can lead to [a] just cause finding," he says. "If you don't fire the perpetrator, then the survivor might have a very strong, constructive dismissal case against you. And so now you're facing a legitimate lawsuit from an innocent party who's done nothing wrong to you versus a weaker lawsuit if not a hopeless lawsuit from someone who's done something completely wrong." Employers also have to factor into the equation workplace safety, the retention of innocent workers and workplace morale, says Sheard. "So if an employer comes to me with the question: 'What should we do?' I am-hard pressed to think of a situation where I wouldn't say, 'You should fire the perpetrator.'" HARASSMENT AT WORK "I would like to see mentoring by other male colleagues on why that was wrong and what you should be doing instead… before there's a transgression." Janet Candido, principle of Candido Consulting Group 19% Number of women experiencing harassment at work in 2016 13% Number of men experiencing harassment at work in 2016 47% Number of men who had a "weak sense of belonging" to their current organization who have been harassed by a supervisor or manager. 34% Number of women who had a "weak sense of belonging" to their current organization who have been harassed by a supervisor or manager. 39% Number of men harassed by a supervisor or manager 32% Number of women harassed by a supervisor or manager Source: Statistics Canada

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