WHEREAS the term “domestic violence” is now included in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), requiring employers to address domestic violence; and
WHEREAS the OHSA requires employers to be responsible for the “social well-being” of employees;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request that the Government of Alberta define what is meant by “social well-being” of an employee within the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the responsibilities of an employer with regard to “domestic violence or suspicion of domestic violence” within the OHSA.
Recent changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) have done little to ensure the safety of the workers other than to muddy the waters. Making employers responsible for the “social well-being” of workers is not defined. What does “social well-being” mean and what role if any should an employer be legislated to do? If an employee has had an incident off the work site unrelated to the job, when does the employer go from being responsible to address the matter to being a snoop? Is it the job of an employer to embed themselves in the private lives of its employees? If an incident clearly affects the employee’s work, there is already opportunity for an employee to ask the employer for access to help such as an Employee’s Assistance Plan. An employer is already required to allow time off for employees to seek counselling for family matters, addictions or health issues.
Is it the duty of employers to become involved in incidents of “domestic violence” outside of the work environment? There is a wealth of external support agencies committed and trained to address the issue of “domestic violence”. Why should this fall to the employer, who is not trained in this field? The lack of clarity of the changes to OHSA as to what, where and when an employer should embed the organization in the private lives of its employees leaves the organization at risk.
RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.