Harassment and violence bear some unusual characteristics as workplace hazards. These are human-centric problems, unlike most hazards which are physical and external to the workforce. Harassment, by definition, is largely subjective and generally a longer term harm like other damaging exposures. Both harassment and violence may be difficult to predict.
During a panel discussion at the American Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section annual conference, experts considered potential OSHA involvement in that issue as well as violence and assault.
To be clear, there's already a relevant agency guidancebut it considers only physical assault and doesn't carry the weight of a regulation. There's also some precedent when it comes to citations: Godoy, an in-house attorney for OSHA. In that situation, the employer, a home health case provider, ignored employees' complaints about a client's family member.
It could have implemented a buddy system or given the employee a panic button, Godoy said, explaining why OSHA determined that the failings were willful. And then there's a Request for Information issued during the Obama administration.
That document sought stakeholder input on potential workplace violence regulations for the healthcare industry. The next review stage — engaging with small business stakeholders, Godoy said — is slated to begin in March Still, it's a reach, the panelists agreed.
And that clause only addresses hazards that are "likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Some suggested that OSHA could interpret the law to apply to psychological harm, but Godoy wasn't quite sure. Karmel of the Karmel Law Firm agreed.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act offor example, only requires action after the fact, he said, but the OSH Act requires that employers have a program in place before there is an incident.
What those program requirements would look like, however, remains the "million dollar question," according to Karmel. It would certainly expand the number of employers who would have to address the possibility of sexual harassment and assault, experts said, as the OSH Act has no minimum employee threshold.
And it would require the agency and employers to determine what kinds of hazards are really foreseeable. Could that be third-party violence?
It's not as simple as knowing to put a guard on a dangerous piece of machinery, Karmel explained; "that's pretty foreseeable. After all, she said, no one know about workplace hazards better than front-line employees.
The panelists acknowledged that there would be some overlap when it comes to enforcement. Many of the issues discussed can be prosecuted criminally, and EEOC could still enforce the law as courts have interpreted it. Concerned about the possibility of conflicting requirements, one audience member asked Godoy about the possibility of an affirmative defense to civil rights complaints; "can we say to EEOC, we have a clean audit from OSHA; dismiss the charge?
But, she said, "if that rulemaking does proceed, that's probably something that would end up coming up. There shouldn't be an acceptance that for some positions, it just "comes with the job.Dec 11, · Greater informality in today's workplace, widespread use of social media and basic human nature all contribute to keeping sexual harassment a major issue in the workplace.
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Sexual harassment which creates a hostile or offensive environment for members of one sex is every bit the arbitrary barrier to sexual equality at the workplace that racial harassment is to racial equality.
Sexual harassment already has been covered to an extent, but this is a serious issue that organizations face around the world. This is one of the most common and all .
Sexual harassment already has been covered to an extent, but this is a serious issue that organizations face around the world. This is one of the most common and all . Since harassment is the biggest trending topic related to the workplace, it seems opportune to highlight the harassment provisions in the new Alberta occupational health and safety (“OHS”) legislation, which is known as Bill An Act To Protect The Health And Well-Being Of Working Albertans. Addressing the Persistent Issue of Sexual and Workplace Harassment. In the last few years, no other ethics and compliance issue has seen as much media coverage as sexual harassment.
Workplace sexual harassment is a public health issue and should be treated as such June 28, pm EDT Data shows perpetrators of workplace sexual harassment are overwhelmingly male.