Employee Security: How Far should you go? Are you doing enough?
Concerns regarding employee security have been building for years since Lori Dupont’s murder in her Ontario Workplace.
Violence in the workplace legislation such as Bill 168 have been implemented, and now there is greater emphasizes on the courts to be less tolerant of employers who do not meet their minimal workplace security legal obligations.
All employers must take warning, the courts are giving clear direction on how far reaching an employers’ obligations is in for the prevention of violence in the workplace. The Ministry of Labour laid five charges against an Ontario mental health centre in relation to the security and the prevention of violence in the workplace and a ruling has been rendered:
“A mental health centre must install a new electronic alarm system at its site as well as provide improved employee training and hire properly trained security personnel who will be present 24/7.”
What the Union is saying about this case:
“For the first time in Ontario history, a quasi-judicial body has confirmed that security personnel have a role to play on a health care team,” he said. “This is an extremely significant conclusion, not just for Brockville Mental Health Centre, but for mental health care facilities across the province.”
The employer has been ordered to install security systems but also to hire security guards. So the tsunami is here and rightfully so: all employees deserve not to be exposed to workplace violence.
But why is this ruling so unusual? The courts have told an organization that they must hire specific employees, in this case security guards. This has an impact on an organization’s HR and staffing budgets. Usually workplace H&S violations result in fines and the organization must decide on its own on the direction it must take to comply. The courts in this case were very directive on what was required to ensure the prevention of violence in the workplace, and it requires the funding of more security guards.
As with most employment matters it is always better to pave your own path rather than having a third party or the courts order what you must do. It is clear in Ontario that employers must take workplace violence prevention as seriously as society and our courts are.
- Please explain the value of conducting a violence in the workplace risk assessment.
- Research a tool that you could use to conduct a violence in the workplace risk assessment. Why did you pick that tool, and what value does it have to an organization?