Under the proposed legislation, workers would be prohibited from harassing or "participating in the harassment of" other workers and employers would be responsible for ensuring that their workers are not exposed to employment-related harassment. Contravention of these responsibilities would trigger the penalty provisions in the OHS Act. Under these provisions, an OHS officer investigating a harassment complaint could have discretion to impose an administrative penalty of up to $10,000 for each day the harassment continues. Employers would also be required to establish and administer a workplace harassment policy and investigate harassment complaints. A worker who is dissatisfied with the employer's investigation would have the option of filing a complaint with an OHS officer for investigation and mediation. The results of this investigation would be subject to administrative review and appeal to the courts. Bill 208 received first reading on November 9, 2016, but the legislative Session ended without further progress. Alberta workers and employers would likely applaud the Legislature's recognition of workplace harassment as a legitimate concern deserving legal sanction. However, employers may dislike the prospect of becoming subject to OHS investigation of harassment complaints at the option of an aggrieved worker, which would increase uncertainty and compliance costs even for compliant employers.
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