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Occupational Health & Safety
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What are the employer’s obligations in regards to psychosocial risks?

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Psychosocial risks

What are psychosocial risks?

In the workplace, psychosocial risks are defined as the factors linked to the nature or organization of work that can affect a worker's physical and psychological health. They stem from factors such as workload, organizational fairness, decision-making autonomy, recognition and support at work, and the occurrence of conflict and violence. Psychosocial risks associated with the workplace can be present in a variety of contexts, and can occur in any professional environment.

What are the employer's obligations when it comes to psychosocial risks?

The employer's obligations include prevention, administration and management. 
Prevention: The employer must take the necessary precautions to protect the health, safety and physical and psychological integrity of the worker. In practical terms, this involves identifying, correcting and controlling risks, including psychosocial risks. The employer must also protect workers who are exposed or have been exposed, in the course of their work, to psychological and/or sexual harassment, or to any form of workplace violence.
Administration: A policy on the prevention of psychological and/or sexual harassment in the workplace, as well as a complaint handling process, must be put in place. Furthermore, a policy on the prevention of violence in the workplace must be implemented. In order to ensure that these various policies are implemented within the organization, the employer must also set up various measures such as training, occupational health and safety breaks, information sessions, awareness-raising initiatives, a code of conduct or civility in the workplace, the application of disciplinary measures, and so on.
Management: All employers, from small businesses to multinationals and SMEs, must take reasonable steps to prevent all forms of psychological and/or sexual harassment and violence in the workplace. If such conduct is brought to the company's attention, it must take the necessary steps to ensure that it ceases. For example, it must take all reports or complaints from its employees seriously, conduct an investigation when a complaint is officially lodged, ensure that the various policies are respected and applied, manage conflicts, apply corrective measures, etc.

How will Bill 42 change or improve this situation?

Bill 42 aims to prevent and fight psychological harassment and sexual violence in the workplace. This commitment is reflected in a number of ways, including: 

  • The time limit for filing a claim for employment injury following sexual violence in the workplace will be extended from six months to two years for anyone who has suffered such an injury;
  • A team specialized in sexual violence will be set up at the Administrative Labor Court;
  • The latter will henceforth be able to impose punitive damages when the employer is found personally liable for the harassment.
How can the expertise of a partner like Lussier help employers with the complex issue of preventing and managing psychosocial risks?

Lussier's specialized consultants offer a wide range of practical services, from training to investigating complaints of psychological or sexual harassment in the workplace, including coaching, policy drafting, code of conduct development, conflict management and more.
The support provided by our specialized consultants is tailored to the employer's needs. It can take a variety of forms, including support in identifying and analyzing psychosocial risks, as well as support in dealing with risk factors.