Richard LECOUFFE

Richard LeCouffe has been a lawyer since 1976. He is a graduate from the Université de Montréal, from which institution he received his law degree (LL.L.) in 1974.

During his career, although Me LeCouffe was mostly involved in labour and employment law affairs and negotiating labour collective agreements, he also had the opportunity to become very familiar with condominium law. Among other things, he has contributed in the writing of many articles, books, conferences, memoirs and legal procedures on the latter subject.

Let's talk about psychological harassment (2/2)

August 14, 2022 - The phenomenon of psychological harassment in the workplace is increasingly reported and publicized. It manifests itself in many forms through intimidating, vexing and inappropriate behaviors. This scourge of society is being fought, wherever it occurs. No one can hide behind any legal status, including that of co-ownership. A syndicate of co-owners, as an employer, must take reasonable steps to prevent any form of psychological harassment among its employees and, when such conduct is brought to its attention, to put an end to it.

 

Ways to prevent harassment:

  • Inform employees about what constitutes harassment and make them aware of their duties and responsibilities in this regard;
  • Educate employees, managers, directors and co-owners on the importance of avoiding any form of harassment in the workplace;
  • Train managers and stakeholders on the measures to be taken to detect or prevent situations of harassment;
  • Adopt a clear and comprehensive harassment policy;
  • Disseminate this policy to counter harassment to employees, managers, directors and co-owners;
  • Apply the policy consistently and impartially.

Steps to take in the event of the discovery of a harassment situation or the filing of a complaint:

  • The person who feels harassed should try to put an end to the situation, making it clear to the harassing person that their conduct is unacceptable and must stop;
  • If this is not possible, or if the situation is not resolved, the person who feels harassed should submit a written and signed complaint to the employer;
  • As soon as the employer becomes aware of a situation that could constitute harassment (even without a written complaint), he must intervene quickly and act rigorously;
  • The employer then has the obligation to investigate and verify all the facts reported;
  • The investigation can be carried out internally or by entrusting a mandate to an external person. What matters most are the qualities generally required of an investigator:
    • impartiality;
    • independence;
    • rigor and thoroughness;
    • analytical and synthesis skills;
    • discretion / confidentiality.
  • The employer then takes steps to stop the harassment: conciliation or the imposition of disciplinary measures against the harassing person, if necessary.

An employer may be held liable to the victim of harassment, including where there is:

  • Lack of a policy to address harassment;
  • Ignorance and/or refusal to deal with a harassment complaint;
  • Failure to conduct a serious investigation;
  • No sanction against the harassing person.

When it comes to harassment, employees also have obligations to:

  • Respect the people they work with;
  • Contribute through their conduct to making the workplace free of harassment;
  • Participate in the mechanisms put in place by the employer.

The consequences of psychological harassment can be serious for a harassed person. Do not think that the problem is non-existent in condominiums. It is the duty of the directors of the unions to take measures to avoid this scourge or, if it occurs, to put an end to the situation.

 

Richard LeCouffe, Lawyer

Therrien Couture Joli-Cœur S.E.N.C.R.L

1100, boul. René-Lévesque O.,
Bureau 2000
Montréal (Québec) H3B 4N4

Tél. : (514) 335-9595 / sans frais 855 633.6326

[email protected]

 

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