This video provides an overview of employment legislation as it applies to the workplace setting, including the topics of job training and dealing with issues in the workplace. The text below provides a summary of what is discussed in the video.
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Ontario Employment Law in the Workplace
There are many laws and rules that impact your rights and responsibilities in the workplace. This section provides a basic overview of some of the rights and responsibilities of employees in the workplace.
An employer has a responsibility to provide you with training for the job that you are required to do. An employer cannot terminate your employment because you are unable to do a job unless they have provided appropriate training which would allow you to do the job at the required level. You also have a responsibility to meet the requirements of the job. Participate in ongoing training opportunities provided by your employer, professional organizations or associations to support professional development and build on your existing knowledge and skills.
Issues in the Workplace
Employees should be able to feel safe in their work environment. However, issues may arise in the workplace that can make the work environment uncomfortable. It is important to recognize that employment law prohibits “any unwanted or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates the victim and detrimentally affects the work environment.”
The Occupational Health and Safety Act
An addition to the Occupational Health and Safety Act aims to protect employees from bullying and harassment in the workplace. Employers must have policies in place to investigate employee harassment complaints in the workplace. For more information, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website: Workplace Violence and Workplace Harassment.
Workplaces may also have other internal policies and procedures for reporting and managing issues in the workplace. It may be helpful to talk to your supervisor or human resources manager to learn about related policies and procedures.
The Ontario Human Rights Code
Once you are hired as an employee, the Ontario Human Rights Code continues to be an important piece of legislation in the workplace. For instance, employees cannot be promoted or refused a promotion based on the prohibited grounds of discrimination outlined in the Code. Employees can file human rights complaints with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO). The HRTO investigates all claims of discrimination and harassment under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Talking to your supervisor or human resources manager may be a practical first step when dealing with issues in the workplace. However, in some cases, you may want to make an official complaint. In these cases, you should be able to describe the specifics of the incident. It is also helpful to gather evidence to support your complaint, for instance, documentation related to the incident. Legal advice can also be helpful in this type of situation. Here are some related resources:
- Legal Aid Ontario—this organization helps ensure that people living in Ontario on a low income can get free help from a lawyer
- Community Legal Clinics—these centres provide free information, legal advice and representation to people with low incomes in the communities they serve
- Workers’ Health and Safety Legal Clinic
- The Law Society of Upper Canada: Access to Legal Services and Public Legal Information Guide
- Settlement.Org: Legal Services
- The Human Rights Legal Support Centre—provides services to assist with writing complaints and understanding the steps of the process
- Office of the Worker Advisor (OWA)