Canadian HR Reporter

December 1, 2014

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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Page 18 of 19

Canadian HR RepoRteR december 1, 2014 iNsiGht 19 Brian Kenny toughest HR Question Cheryl newcombe Guest Commentary CCHRA working with global associations to be Canadian voice of HR Mutual recognition, competency framework discussed with CIPD, SHRM over the next three years, the cana- dian council of human resources Associations (cchrA) will be working with the chartered in- stitute of personnel and develop- ment, u.k. (cipd) and the society for human resource management (shrm) towards reciprocity for the certified human resources profes- sional (chrp) designation in the united states and united king- dom — improving the mobility of canadian hr professionals worldwide. In October, I met with members of HR associations representing North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and the Inter-Americas at the World Congress of the World Federation of People Manage- ment Associations (WFPMA) in Santiago, Chile. e World Congress takes place every two years and is hosted by a member nation. I was invited to participate in my role as a board member for the North American Human Resource Management Association (NAHRMA). e meetings were informative. Many of the other associations across the world are exploring the same issues we are, includ- ing knowledge measurement, competency frameworks and the evolving process of certification. is gave us a common base for discussion of these issues — on a global scale. I also had the opportunity to meet individually with representa- tives from both CIPD and SHRM, and the CCHRA agreed to work with each association towards re- ciprocal recognition of our certifi- cations over the next three years. CCHRA chair to represent Canada During the congress, SHRM successfully introduced a mo- tion to ensure the chair of the CCHRA board automati- cally represents Canada on the WFPM A board during its rotation. This is consistent with representation from other countries on the global board. This is also a strong step forward for the CCHRA. It will provide us with a regular forum to review and discuss worldwide best practices in human re- sources credentialing that we can bring back to Canadian member associations and HR professionals across the country. At the Santiago meetings, SHRM also announced it will be moving to a competency- based model — much like the CHRP in Canada. The asso- ciation expressed interestin the recently released CHRP Com- petency Framework as a basis for a certification framework. With the trend toward global business models, this is an im- portant focus for the business of human resources. The support of SHRM, CIPD and the WF- PMA member associations will ensure CCHRA continues to be the exclusive voice of Canadian HR professionals and member associations both in North Amer- ica and globally. Cheryl Newcombe is chair of the board of the Toronto-based Canadian Council of Human Resources Associa- tions (CCHRA). For more information, visit When the harassment dust settles What should employer do if harasser, victim need to continue to work together? Question: if an employee is found to have harassed another employee, is there a le- gal requirement to keep them apart? if they continue to work together, is their consent necessary? answer: Whether a harasser should be separated from the vic- tim of harassment depends on a variety of factors and the circum- stances of a given case. ere is no single measure an employer must use in addressing such conduct. Rather, an employer's best mechanism in dealing with work- place harassment is a solid ha- rassment policy that is effectively communicated and consistently enforced. Employers have both a com- mon law and statutory obliga- tion to ensure employees are not subject to harassment, abuse or mistreatment in the workplace. Employers are, therefore, respon- sible for taking all necessary steps in order to prevent the recurrence of workplace harassment and to enhance the work environment, as established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Robichaud v. Brennan. Where allegations of workplace harassment are made, employers are well-advised to ensure com- plaints are taken seriously and in- vestigations conducted properly. Workplace harassment is con- sidered an occupational health and safety issue that poses a poten- tial risk to the physical and mental health and safety of employees. While occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the common thread is an em- ployer has a duty to take reason- able steps to ensure the safety and well-being of employees. What constitutes reasonable steps will depend on the relevant jurisdiction and the nature of the harassment. e legislative duty imposed on employers to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers comes down to a proper workplace harassment policy. ese steps are generally not outlined in the legislation because legislators and the courts recog- nize that necessary steps will vary depending on a given situation and workplace. In Ontario, employers are man- dated to develop and maintain a workplace harassment policy and review the policy on an annual basis. Employers must have a pro- gram in place to ensure the policy is properly implemented. The harassment program serves both a procedural and educational purpose. Harass- ment programs must set out the measures and procedures for workers to report incidents of ha- rassment, describe how the em- ployer will investigate incidents of harassment and provide op- portunities for workers to learn the contents of the policy and the program itself. In Saskatchewan, employers have two principal responsibili- ties when it comes to preventing harassment in the workplace. e first measure is to develop and implement a written harass- ment policy that conforms with the requirements of the regula- tions. Second, employers must ensure, as much as is reasonably practicable, the employees are not exposed to harassment with respect to any matter or circum- stance arising out of the worker's employment. What constitutes a "reasonably practicable" measure considers whether there is a "gross dispro- portion" between the benefit of the duty with the cost, time and trouble of the measures to secure the duty. It is clear the reasonableness requirement will vary depend- ing on a given situation. us, where an incident is relatively minor, it may not be reasonably practicable that the employee can be kept separate from the wrong- doer, depending on the size of the workforce, the nature of the work and any potential risks to other employees. While harassment policy re- quirements differ from province to province, it is possible to elicit certain common features in Can- ada's OHS legislation. Workplace policies must be clearly communicated to manage- ment and employees. Employers should provide harassment pre- vention training to management and employees. Policies should set out what does and does not con- stitute harassment. Mechanisms for addressing workplace harassment and sanc- tions should be clearly set out. e policy should inform employees of their rights and how to raise is- sues of harassment. Finally, employers have an obligation to act promptly to stop harassment and prevent it from recurring. is is key in ensuring that harassment poli- cies are properly enforced and implemented. While it may be unreasonable to separate a harasser from a vic- tim, employers must be careful to monitor the situation. Firstly, an employer's obligation to take necessary steps to prevent the recurrence of harassment is an ongoing duty. Secondly, employers should be alert to the potential of reprisals against victims who came for- ward with complaints. irdly, if the harassment con- tinues or escalates to the point where an employee feels com- pelled to resign from her posi- tion, the employee's resignation could be treated as constructive dismissal, entitling the employee to common law damages. Brian Kenny is a partner at MacPher- son Leslie and Tyerman in Regina. He can be reached at (306) 347-8421 or if the harassment continues or escalates to the point where an employee resigns, it could be treated as constructive dismissal and lead to common law damages. HR can only benefit from having a wider vision of the world of business. I have a line management background and when I meet some HR people, they always comment on how useful it is to have experience outside of HR to strengthen the HR role. HRPA's new designation program understands the importance of that wider understanding of business. — Simone Tai, commenting on Brian Kreissl's blog "There is life after HR (part 2)" Join the conversation online. Comment freely on any blog on reader Comments it will provide us with a regular forum to review and discuss worldwide best practices in human resources.

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