“We can do better. Albertans deserve a workplace that is safe from both physical harm and the psychological and emotional damage that workplace harassment inflicts.” If the bill passes, every Alberta employer will have to establish a workplace harassment policy and investigate all harassment complaints. If an employee is not satisfied with the resolution of a complaint, he or she will be able to file another complaint with a government occupational health and safety officer, who may mediate a resolution if the matter appears to have merit. An unsuccessful mediation could potentially result in “corrective action” against the accused perpetrator. “In consultations with Alberta businesses of all sizes, individual victims, labour organizations and pertinent non-profit and professional organizations,” wrote Coolahan, “there is clear support for providing all Albertans with a safe, harassment-free work environment.” One of the bill’s vocal supporters is Linda Crockett, a social worker and the founder and executive director of the Alberta Bullying Research, Resources & Recovery Centre in Edmonton. “I am extremely excited to see this happen. I thought we were going to be waiting a few years before we saw it,” said Crockett. “All those people out there that are suffering, either just beginning that process or suffering in isolation, I see hope for them now.” Coolahan cited a recent study revealing that 60 per cent of Alberta workers had experienced workplace harassment, while half of the victims of bullying or harassment would not report it. Of the ones who had sought help from their employers’ human-resources departments, 62 per cent said that the companies had taken no action. If Coolahan’s bill becomes law, “employers are going to be accountable,” said Crockett.
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