One of them was the obligation to have psychological and sexual harassment prevention policies in the workplace for Quebec businesses. The idea is to preserve a professional environment and promote the dignity, well-being and safety of employees. You can easily create your own harassment prevention policy by drawing inspiration from our template and following our “3D” method of define, disseminate, and develop.
To set out a clear sanctioning process and demonstrate real engagement toward your employees, we recommend that you include the following in your policy:
- A clear definition of harassment and of its various forms (sexual, psychological, discriminatory, etc.);
- The procedure for complaints and complaint management; and
- The sanctions established by the employer in case of harassment.
Be sure to maintain a formal rather than casual tone, and give concrete examples to connect with employees and ensure their understanding. Your policy shouldn’t be too contrived or difficult to assimilate.
Our policy template applies to in-house employees as well as suppliers, clients and others. We recommend, however, that you adapt it to your realities so your employees feel like it applies to them.
For example, if you own a restaurant, you could include examples involving alcohol consumption or on informal gatherings after closing, while specifying that inappropriate behavior has no place at work. If you manage a retirement home, you could include more details about complaint processing and harassment prevention in the context of a workplace with residents.
The effect of your policy will directly depend on how well you disseminate it. It is essential to make it available to all employees and concerned individuals. To do so, you can use various means, such as providing a copy to every employee or publishing it on your employee website. You can also hold an annual meeting on the subject, discuss it during performance evaluations or put copies in key places in your offices. Also make sure your managers understand it well; this will enable them to easily explain it to their employees and intervene quickly in case of any inappropriate conduct.
Develop It Over Time
Given that businesses can grow rapidly, it’s important to keep up by amending your policy on a regular basis. Make sure the contents are always up to date. Sharing updates will also be an opportunity to keep building employee awareness.
Other Key Resources
Here are other relevant resources to help you draw up your own policy, or learn more on the topic:
You are an employer – Information from the Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité au travail
Sexual harassment – Information kit from the Institut national de santé publique du Québec
Le harcèlement au travail - « Ça fait pas partie d’la job! » - Article from the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés du Québec
Nouvelle politique sur le harcèlement sexuel, les entreprises sont-elles prêtes – Article from La Presse
We would like to thank Shelley Tran for this article.