New Item: Duke hospitals to install weapons detectors – Becker’s Hospital Review

Duke University Health System is boostingΒ security measures at its hospitals as part of efforts to address the safety of workers, patients and visitors.Β 

Weapons detection systems will be installed beginning the week of Feb. 13 at the main public entrances to Duke University, Duke Regional and Duke Raleigh hospitals, the Durham, N.C.-based health system said in a Feb. 7 news release.

Health system spokesperson Sarah Avery told Becker’s the systems are not metal detectors, meaning medical devices such as pacemakers, metal rods and clips will not set off alarms or require special access.

Hospital leaders said the additional security is in response to the increase in violence at healthcare facilities nationwide.

“We are committed to providing a safe environment for all those we serve,” Ian Brown, chief employee experience officer at Duke University Health System and executive sponsor of systemwide workplace violence prevention efforts, said in a news release. “As acts of violence in healthcare settings began escalating, we made a pledge to redouble efforts to address safety. These devices are a direct result of that commitment.”

Over the last year, Duke University Health System has been focused on security efforts, including those put in place after an attack last summer left an emergency room nurse unconscious and with facial fractures.Β 

Efforts include enhanced security presence at hospital and clinic locations; additional emergency alert support to care teams; signage condemning aggressive behavior; staff training on de-escalation tactics; and fewer entrances being accessible to visitors, the health system said.

The weapons detection systems, which are similar to those used in public buildings and designed to detect firearms and other weapons, will go online in phases through early March. Duke University Health System said patients and visitors can opt for screening with a hand wand, and workers with badges won’t be screened.Β 

Other hospitals and health systems have worked to address violence against workers. For example, Bennington-based Southwestern Vermont Health Care recently announced a new policy to prevent aggressive and violent behavior toward its employees.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: ‘No-brainer’: Group pushes for change with harassment bill – ElliotLakeToday.com

Provincial bill would create process for municipal councils to remove members who violate workplace violence and harassment policies

Bill 5 is picking up steam throughout the province and a group of Simcoe County residents behind it say they’re optimistic the legislation will go through. 

The bill would amend the Municipal Act of 2001 to require the code of conduct for municipal councillors and members of local boards to include a requirement for those councillors and members to comply with workplace violence and harassment policies.

The provincial bill would create a process for municipal councils to remove their members who violate workplace violence and harassment policies.

The movement, dubbed “The Women of Ontario Say No,” has attracted support throughout the province, from municipal councillors as far north as Kenora, to former premier Kathleen Wynne, who will be a delegate speaking to the motion at the Richmond Hill city council meeting on Wednesday. 

Emily McIntosh, one of the people behind the push, says she’s optimistic about the attention the bill has been receiving.  

“We are connecting with every single person who we can think of that can help us elevate this conversation,” McIntosh told BarrieToday. “This is just too important to not make sure this bill gets passed. On top of all the deputations that are rolling out, it hits the agenda in Toronto (Tuesday) night, so we’re excited about the momentum and this is just the start.”

The bill has three primary components, with one being that municipally elected officials would be accountable to the violence and harassment policies of the respective municipality, in line with the chief administrative officer. 

The second is for “egregious” acts of harassment substantiated by the municipality’s integrity commissioner (IC), councils could direct the IC to apply to the courts for removal and, finally, if removed, the person would be restricted from running again.

In March 2022, a bill was put forward by Ottawa-area MPP Stephen Blais to introduce legislation that would deter municipal councillors and board members from engaging in harassment by holding them accountable for their actions, including creating a process to remove them from office.

Despite the bill being on the table in the last provincial session, it was dropped when the Ontario election was called. Re-introduced last August, the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act has yet to be passed.

In April 2022, Barrie city council endorsed the Stopping Harassment and Abuse by Local Leaders Act.

McIntosh explained why the advocates haven’t approached this current council about the initiative. 

“We’re taking the former (Barrie) council’s word that they do endorse this. Because it is such a no-brainer piece of legislation, it was never meant to be controversial,” she said. “We almost have the full support of Simcoe County and we’re only waiting to deliver deputations in Tay and Innisfil.”

BarrieToday also asked McIntosh why she thinks the bill is taking so long to pass.

“I think that there is a level of protectionism happening, and it’s potentially under the guise of an argument of consistency,” she said. “One of the things we keep hearing from some politicians is the want to implement something very consistent and feeling like this might not be the answer, and that just isn’t a strong enough argument. We know that businesses in the province have different harassment policies, but that the principles are the same. This model works.”

A public event entitled ‘Flood the Floor’ is also planned for the bill’s second reading in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto on May 16.

For more information on Bill 5, click here.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Elementary teachers union gathering information on school violence – Kitchener.CityNews.ca

A survey will be sent to all members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to gather information on the rise in school violence

A survey on workplace violence will be sent out by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario to all members as the union continues to address a rise in aggressive behaviours in schools.

It’s an issue that’s also being looked into locally within the Waterloo Region District School Board.

Board of trustees chair Joanne Weston put forth a motion at a Jan. 23 meeting asking staff to report back on how the board supports teachers who have shared stories of harassment on social media and other struggles they’ve faced in and out of the classroom.

“I’m hearing from staff, and much like other employers, that we could be doing a better job to support staff well-being at a time when many people are stressed,” Weston said at the meeting.

“I brought this motion forward because I would like to know how staff well-being, one of our strategic directions, is being supported across the system. I hope that by requesting a report that highlights what we’re doing and what we would need to do to create a staff well-being strategy, we can move forward with more support.”

The online survey being put on by the ETFO will run from Feb. 8 to March 8 with focus groups being held at the end of March.

“Violence against ETFO members remains a concerning, pervasive and growing issue,” Karen Brown, president of the ETFO said.

“Many school spaces are not safe, especially for those working on the front lines with students whose needs are not being met. We hope the data collected will finally convince the Ford government to take action to address the unacceptable and troubling rise of violence in schools.”

A similar survey was done by the ETFO in 2017 and showed that violence was a significant and growing problem in elementary schools.

The ETFO says that despite knowing the data that came out of the survey, the provincial government has failed to act accordingly to make school environments “physically and psychologically safe.”

More supports for special education are needed as it has not kept up with the need of those students, Brown says.

“At its core, this is a human rights issue,” she said.

“Without adequate funding of dedicated resources and supports for students who need them, violent incidents will continue to threaten safety, and compromise learning and working conditions.”

The survey is being conducted by Strategic Communications Inc. and results are anticipated in the spring of 2023.

The results will be used to raise awareness, advocate for change and develop resources and programs aimed at empowering ETFO members.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: ‘Another Opportunity to Fight for Change’: Half Moon Bay … – KQED

Hernandez-Arriaga, a mental health social worker and professor of counseling at the University of San Francisco, will be the guest on Tuesday night of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, whose district includes Half Moon Bay.

“Her invitation, to me, really resonated with the opportunity to be able to push this conversation as a national agenda, to change the conditions for farmworkers across our country and at home,” said Hernandez-Arriaga, whose group has been working directly to support victims’ families in the aftermath of the Jan. 23 shooting rampage.

In advance of her trip, Hernandez-Arriaga spoke with KQED morning host Brian Watt about the urgent need to improve the working and living conditions of the largely underserved, overlooked communities she serves.

This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.

Since the shooting, ALAS has been working on the ground to give people critical services. What do they need now?

It’s such a hard question because of the pain that has been inflicted, the fear, the trauma. So many who have already been affected by trauma for so long are now left without answers, but really needing mental health support first and foremost. There’s so much that they need to share and to have safe spaces to do that.

They need the reassurance from our community leaders and our politicians that farmworker conditions will change. They need to know that there’s going to be a national response to improve the lives of farmworkers, their living conditions, their economic wages, their mental health, medical and so much more.

We are shaken at our core that this happened in our beautiful small pumpkin town community, where people come to see the Mavericks and cut Christmas trees and pumpkins.

Have people at the two farms where the shootings happened been able to return to work?

Some of them are trying to slowly find their way back to work. Others are paralyzed with fear, and others are confused and do not know what to do.

So ALAS has really been wrapping care around to say, you know, “We’re here to support you.” Our county leaders have been equally supportive and getting funding to them so that they can take the time they need to be able to process and heal through this journey.

Before the shooting, your organization was already trying to improve conditions for farmworkers in California, many of whom don’t have adequate access to housing and health care and earn very low wages. So what impact has this incident had?

We have been talking about the conditions of farmworkers for a long time, particularly during COVID, as we went out into the fields and saw how difficult it was for our farmworker community and heard from farmworker leaders across the state. So we’ve been actively on the ground advocating and pushing for better housing, highlighting the disparities that exist.

This tragedy brings to light the silence with which many have lived in … in these deplorable conditions with these inequitable wages and lack of health care. We are hoping that this response really turns the tide.

Is the lack of access to mental health care for farmworkers something you feel like people needed to know more about even before it took a shooting like this to bring it to light?

Absolutely. Our platform at ALAS is focused on mental health for Latino essential workers, for our farmworkers. It’s free, accessible and culturally centered.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Ontario Superior Court Awards $285000 To Employee For … – Mondaq

Canada:

Ontario Superior Court Awards $285,000 To Employee For Supervisor’s Violent And Harassing Conduct

07 February 2023

Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.

Bottom Line

In Osmani v Universal Structural Restorations
Ltd.,
2022 ONSC 6979
, the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice (the “Court”) held that an employee (the
“Plaintiff”) was constructively dismissed after he was
subjected to violence and harassment by his supervisor. Universal
Structural Restorations Ltd. (the “Company”) was held
vicariously liable for the supervisor’s misconduct.

This case is notable for being the first employment case in
Ontario to consider the tort of human trafficking. Although the
human trafficking claim was dismissed, Justice Di Luca set out the
relevant test and factors that may be considered in future cases
assessing the tort.

Background Facts

The Plaintiff was employed with the Company as a general
labourer. He was initially hired “off-the-books” prior to
securing his status as a Temporary Foreign Worker.

Throughout the Plaintiff’s 14 months’ of employment, he
was subjected to humiliating and degrading conduct by his
supervisor at the Company. In particular, the supervisor referred
to the Plaintiff using ethnic slurs or as “his bitch” and
made sexual remarks about the Plaintiff’s wife. The supervisor
also made threats related to the Plaintiff’s employment status,
such as suggesting that he could send the Plaintiff back to his
home country of Albania.

The Plaintiff was also repeatedly subjected to violence by his
supervisor in front of his co-workers. Most notably, on one
occasion, the supervisor punched the Plaintiff in the testicles.
The strike was so significant that the Plaintiff’s testicle had
to be surgically removed. The Plaintiff did not file a harassment
complaint but told both the Company’s owner and office manager
about the incident at an office party months later. The Company did
not investigate the incident.

Later, the Plaintiff suffered a workplace accident when he fell
13-14 feet off of a ladder. He could not get up and the supervisor
and the Company failed to call an ambulance, despite the
Plaintiff’s significant injury. The Company also produced a
misleading investigation report and attempted to dissuade the
Plaintiff from filing an injury claim with the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board (“WSIB”). Soon thereafter, the Company
pressured the Plaintiff to return to work and, upon his return,
assigned him to duties that were beyond his physical
capabilities.

The Plaintiff brought an action for constructive dismissal and,
amongst other claims, sought damages for human trafficking contrary
to the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act,
2017
.

The Decision

The Court held that the Plaintiff was constructively dismissed.
The Court found that the Company had condoned an abusive work
environment and engaged in a series of acts that poisoned the
workplace. These acts included: failing to respond to the
Plaintiff’s repeated complaints about the supervisor’s
conduct; failing to investigate complaints or discipline the
supervisor; and crafting a false narrative to blame the Plaintiff
for the workplace accident.

The Court also held the Company vicariously liable for the
supervisor’s violence. The supervisor had struck the Plaintiff
during a work meeting in front of other workers and supervisors.
Due to these factors, the incident was more than an act of battery
that simply occurred at the workplace; rather, the Company had
created a scenario where the Plaintiff was under the direct control
of his attacker, who was tasked with directing work placements for
the Plaintiff and other employees. Furthermore, once the Company
became aware of the battery, the Company did not investigate or
discipline the supervisor, nor separate the Plaintiff from his
supervisor.

With respect to the Plaintiff’s fall, the Court held that
the Company failed to enforce workplace policies designed to keep
staff safe. The Court noted that the Company had produced a
misleading investigation report, interfered with the
Plaintiff’s ability to obtain WSIB compensation, and failed to
modify work tasks consistent with his medical restrictions.

Throughout the decision, the Court emphasized the vulnerable
position of the Plaintiff as his work permit was tied to employment
with the Company.

The Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim for damages for
the tort of human trafficking. The Court found that the evidence
did not demonstrate that the Company’s conduct was for the
purpose of exploiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person
trafficked. The Plaintiff had the same working conditions and
remuneration as other employees. To the extent that the Company
exerted control, influence, or direction over the Plaintiff, it was
in the context of a regular employment relationship.

Ultimately, the Court ordered the Company and supervisor to
cumulatively pay over $285,000 to the Plaintiff. This damages award
included: four months’ common law reasonable notice, $100,000
in general and aggravated damages for the tort of battery; $10,000
in general damages for the tort of assault; $50,000 for violations
of the Plaintiff’s human rights; $75,000 in moral damages;
$25,000 in punitive damages against the supervisor personally; and
$25,000 in punitive damages against the Company.

Check the Box

This case serves as an extreme reminder to employers to
investigate all complaints and incidents of workplace violence and
harassment. Employees must receive training on their employer’s
workplace violence and harassment policy and, under the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act, the policy must be
reviewed, at minimum, on an annual basis. While the
supervisor’s misconduct was particularly egregious in this
case, employers may be held liable and incur significant damages in
any case where they fail to correct inappropriate behaviour and to
provide a safe workplace.

This case also confirms that the tort of human trafficking is
available in the employment context where labour trafficking has
occurred, although the threshold to establish this tort is quite
high. Employers should be mindful of the unique challenges and
vulnerability experienced by temporary foreign workers and new
immigrants in the workplace. As these types of workers may feel
less comfortable bringing their concerns to Human Resources,
employers may consider using more proactive measures to ensure a
safe workplace.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Employment and HR from Canada

2023 HR Checklist For Ontario Employers

Dickinson Wright PLLC

Effective January 1, 2023, private companies incorporated in Ontario must establish and maintain a Register of individuals with significant control (“ISCs”).

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Franklin man is People’s Choice winner at art showcase – Oil City Derrick

Franklin muralist Deac Mong won the People’s Choice award at the Nature Art Showcase and Sale held Friday and Saturday at the Barrow-Civic Theatre in Franklin.

Attendees at the seventh annual event were able to view more than 140 original art items in the main lobby of the Barrow that were submitted by 76 artists.

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: OC code office files 4 citations related to Adamovsky properties – Oil City Derrick

After coming to town with grand ideas for “bringing back Oil City” about two years ago and buying up buildings, then going silent, a New Jersey software developer is now being cited for leaving his downtown buildings to rot for two years.

Four summary citations for “unsafe conditions” were issued late last month to Milan Adamovsky by the Oil City code enforcement office.

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Kara O’Neil, reporter for The Derrick and The News-Herald, can be reached at karaoneil.thederrick@gmail.com or (814) 677-8369.

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: Ontario Superior Court Awards $285000 To Employee For … – Mondaq

Canada:

Ontario Superior Court Awards $285,000 To Employee For Supervisor’s Violent And Harassing Conduct

07 February 2023

Filion Wakely Thorup Angeletti LLP

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Bottom Line

In Osmani v Universal Structural Restorations
Ltd.,
2022 ONSC 6979
, the Ontario Superior Court of
Justice (the “Court”) held that an employee (the
“Plaintiff”) was constructively dismissed after he was
subjected to violence and harassment by his supervisor. Universal
Structural Restorations Ltd. (the “Company”) was held
vicariously liable for the supervisor’s misconduct.

This case is notable for being the first employment case in
Ontario to consider the tort of human trafficking. Although the
human trafficking claim was dismissed, Justice Di Luca set out the
relevant test and factors that may be considered in future cases
assessing the tort.

Background Facts

The Plaintiff was employed with the Company as a general
labourer. He was initially hired “off-the-books” prior to
securing his status as a Temporary Foreign Worker.

Throughout the Plaintiff’s 14 months’ of employment, he
was subjected to humiliating and degrading conduct by his
supervisor at the Company. In particular, the supervisor referred
to the Plaintiff using ethnic slurs or as “his bitch” and
made sexual remarks about the Plaintiff’s wife. The supervisor
also made threats related to the Plaintiff’s employment status,
such as suggesting that he could send the Plaintiff back to his
home country of Albania.

The Plaintiff was also repeatedly subjected to violence by his
supervisor in front of his co-workers. Most notably, on one
occasion, the supervisor punched the Plaintiff in the testicles.
The strike was so significant that the Plaintiff’s testicle had
to be surgically removed. The Plaintiff did not file a harassment
complaint but told both the Company’s owner and office manager
about the incident at an office party months later. The Company did
not investigate the incident.

Later, the Plaintiff suffered a workplace accident when he fell
13-14 feet off of a ladder. He could not get up and the supervisor
and the Company failed to call an ambulance, despite the
Plaintiff’s significant injury. The Company also produced a
misleading investigation report and attempted to dissuade the
Plaintiff from filing an injury claim with the Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board (“WSIB”). Soon thereafter, the Company
pressured the Plaintiff to return to work and, upon his return,
assigned him to duties that were beyond his physical
capabilities.

The Plaintiff brought an action for constructive dismissal and,
amongst other claims, sought damages for human trafficking contrary
to the Prevention of and Remedies for Human Trafficking Act,
2017
.

The Decision

The Court held that the Plaintiff was constructively dismissed.
The Court found that the Company had condoned an abusive work
environment and engaged in a series of acts that poisoned the
workplace. These acts included: failing to respond to the
Plaintiff’s repeated complaints about the supervisor’s
conduct; failing to investigate complaints or discipline the
supervisor; and crafting a false narrative to blame the Plaintiff
for the workplace accident.

The Court also held the Company vicariously liable for the
supervisor’s violence. The supervisor had struck the Plaintiff
during a work meeting in front of other workers and supervisors.
Due to these factors, the incident was more than an act of battery
that simply occurred at the workplace; rather, the Company had
created a scenario where the Plaintiff was under the direct control
of his attacker, who was tasked with directing work placements for
the Plaintiff and other employees. Furthermore, once the Company
became aware of the battery, the Company did not investigate or
discipline the supervisor, nor separate the Plaintiff from his
supervisor.

With respect to the Plaintiff’s fall, the Court held that
the Company failed to enforce workplace policies designed to keep
staff safe. The Court noted that the Company had produced a
misleading investigation report, interfered with the
Plaintiff’s ability to obtain WSIB compensation, and failed to
modify work tasks consistent with his medical restrictions.

Throughout the decision, the Court emphasized the vulnerable
position of the Plaintiff as his work permit was tied to employment
with the Company.

The Court dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim for damages for
the tort of human trafficking. The Court found that the evidence
did not demonstrate that the Company’s conduct was for the
purpose of exploiting or facilitating the exploitation of a person
trafficked. The Plaintiff had the same working conditions and
remuneration as other employees. To the extent that the Company
exerted control, influence, or direction over the Plaintiff, it was
in the context of a regular employment relationship.

Ultimately, the Court ordered the Company and supervisor to
cumulatively pay over $285,000 to the Plaintiff. This damages award
included: four months’ common law reasonable notice, $100,000
in general and aggravated damages for the tort of battery; $10,000
in general damages for the tort of assault; $50,000 for violations
of the Plaintiff’s human rights; $75,000 in moral damages;
$25,000 in punitive damages against the supervisor personally; and
$25,000 in punitive damages against the Company.

Check the Box

This case serves as an extreme reminder to employers to
investigate all complaints and incidents of workplace violence and
harassment. Employees must receive training on their employer’s
workplace violence and harassment policy and, under the Ontario
Occupational Health and Safety Act, the policy must be
reviewed, at minimum, on an annual basis. While the
supervisor’s misconduct was particularly egregious in this
case, employers may be held liable and incur significant damages in
any case where they fail to correct inappropriate behaviour and to
provide a safe workplace.

This case also confirms that the tort of human trafficking is
available in the employment context where labour trafficking has
occurred, although the threshold to establish this tort is quite
high. Employers should be mindful of the unique challenges and
vulnerability experienced by temporary foreign workers and new
immigrants in the workplace. As these types of workers may feel
less comfortable bringing their concerns to Human Resources,
employers may consider using more proactive measures to ensure a
safe workplace.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Employment and HR from Canada

2023 HR Checklist For Ontario Employers

Dickinson Wright PLLC

Effective January 1, 2023, private companies incorporated in Ontario must establish and maintain a Register of individuals with significant control (“ISCs”).

Source: Ross Arrowsmith

New Item: New political vibes this State of the Union – Oil City Derrick

WASHINGTON (AP) — Look for new faces and fresh political dynamics as President Joe Biden delivers this year’s State of the Union address, coupled with attention to some old problems brought back into painful focus by recent events.

The president tonight will stand before a joint session of Congress for the first time since voters in the midterm elections handed control of the House to Republicans.

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Source: Ross Arrowsmith