Employees in Ontario have the right to work in conditions that are safe and free from unnecessary & unreasonable hazards, violence and harassment. Every employee has the right to work in safe environments, without having to sacrifice their health and/or safety in order to do their job. Failure to abide by the appropriate norms may cause employers to face prosecution and substantial fines.
For instance, an employee who cleans windows at great heights is entitled to work on an adequately secured platform with the appropriate protective equipment and tools. In the event the employee falls, the employee may seek compensation from the Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). At the same time, the Crown may also charge the employer under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
What do I do if I see unsafe working conditions?
An employer is required to provide information, training and education to employees about methods of operating dangerous equipment, handling dangerous and hazardous materials and violence and harassment in the workplace. Where an employee sees or experiences unsafe/hazardous working conditions, they can report this to their employer or supervisor. If an employer does not respond to fix these hazardous or dangerous conditions, they may be subject to sanctions. Further, where an employer terminates an employee in response to a complaint, it is an illegal act and is known as a reprisal.
In Ontario, the Occupational Health and Safety Act protects employees against an employer’s reprisal for exercising their right to refuse to complete unsafe work. An employee has the options of either suing their employer for constructive dismissal or filing a complaint under the Occupational Health and Safety legislation, where the reprisal has resulted in a termination of employment.
Employers have to understand that employees have the right to refuse unsafe work without any fear of retaliation. In addition to the obvious need to avoid human tragedy, the legal ramifications stemming from the employer’s failure to secure safe working conditions may be severe.
How can Zeilikman Law help?
If you need legal counselling regarding what constitutes a hazardous environment, dangerous working conditions, violence or harassment in the workplace, or have experienced an occupational health and safety issue in your workplace, contact one of our experienced lawyers to discuss your concerns.
At Zeilikman Law, we approach these issues with logical and creative solutions. Our lawyers are, professional, friendly, and determined. We have the know-how to navigate through the psychology of any given dispute.
Request a consultation today to get started!