The law on harassment investigations tells us that an employer must conduct an investigation that is “reasonable” and “appropriate in the circumstances.” The challenge is to know what the exact content of a reasonable and appropriate investigation is, particularly when the workplace issue to investigate appears to be like a puzzle with missing pieces whose final picture is constantly shifting.
With the second anniversary of the Bill 132 changes fast approaching (September 2018), my hope is that organizations can use some of this insight to shape future iterations of their own workplace harassment policies which, pursuant to the legislation, must be reviewed on (at least) an annual basis.
The Federal Court of Appeal recently heard an application for judicial review of a decision of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (the Board) in which the Board had found that an employer – the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) – failed to provide a harassment-free workplace for one of its employees.
Most workplace investigation decisions focus on the psychological harm to complainants suffered as a result of the alleged misconduct. We have written about this issue before – see our discussion of the importance of a trauma-informed approach for victims of sexual assault here.