HR Toolkit

HR Policies & Employment Legislation

Sample Policies on Common HR Topics


  • Can be verbal, physical, sexual or psychological and is something a reasonable person would find unwelcome
  • May be one incident or a series of incidents
  • Rude, degrading or offensive remarks, shouting abuse, yelling , threatening
  • Gestures that seek to intimidate
  • Behavior or comments meant to discredit an employee such as spreading rumors, ridiculing or humiliating another individual
  • Forcing an employee to perform tasks that are belittling or below their skill level
  • Preventing self expression
  • Isolating the employee by no longer talking to the employee, denying his/her presence, distancing the employee from others
  • Denigrating an employee by questioning or ridiculing convictions, tastes, personal life, political choices, etc.

Psychological harassment

Psychological harassment is troubling behavior that manifests itself in the form of conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures characterized by the following four criteria:

  • Behavior is repetitive
  • Behavior is hostile or unwanted
  • Behavior affects the person’s dignity or psychological integrity
  • Behavior results in a harmful work environment

*Bullying is a form of psychological harassment that is receiving increasing attention. It has been identified as being much more prevalent and pervasive in workplaces now than physical harassment. In 2004, a Quebec law prohibiting workplace psychological harassment came into effect to address the issue of bullying in the workplace.


Consult Human Rights Legislation for more specific information on employment-related discrimination and harassment.

Harassment is a serious issue in today's workplaces and can be quite costly for organizations. Ensuring you have a clear policy in place to address concerns and steps to try to resolve issues is a firm step to creating and maintaining a healthy workplace and avoiding legal turmoil.

A policy on harassment in the workplace:

  • Provides guidelines on the types of harassment (verbal, physical, sexual or psychological)
  • Outlines the scope (who is covered by the policy)
  • Makes a commitment to a workplace free from all forms of harassment
  • Can reinforce compliance with human rights legislation and the labour code
  • Is a statement of an organization’s value of inclusion
  • Is a statement of an organizations commitment to workplace safety and wellness


Sample policies

Harassment - Big Sister and Big Brother Society of Edmonton and Area (PDF - 45KB)

  • Defines harassment in a simple but thorough way
  • States clear procedures for determining whether harassment has occurred
  • Gives steps for reporting and investigating a complaint
  • Mentions confidentiality and disciplinary actions

Harassment - Norwood Child and Family Resource Centre (PDF - 36KB)

  • Includes a clear purpose and policy statement
  • Provides examples of harassment

Harassment in the Workplace: Prevention, Protocols and Sanctions - National Organization (PDF - 75KB)

  • Provides extremely thorough definitions
  • Gives details on individuals responsibilities and rights
  • Outlines expectations for confidentiality
  • Gives process for investigations and appeals
  • States disciplinary action that can be taken

* Cole, Nina and Dessler, Gary. Human Resources Management in Canada. Eleventh edition. 2011, Pearson Canada Inc., Toronto, Canada.

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