Mismanagement of Employees
Inappropriate workplace behavior such as bullying, harassment and intimidation adversely affects the wellbeing of individuals, and can have detrimental effects on overall employee morale and productivity. The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act (the Act) has been amended so that as of March 1, 2018, the definition of wrongdoing now includes the gross mismanagement of employees through bullying, harassment or intimidation. Under the Act, gross mismanagement occurs when an act or omission is deliberate, and shows a reckless or willful disregard for proper management. The gross mismanagement of employees occurs when an organization experiences ongoing mistreatment of employees that is systemic, negatively affecting the overall culture of the organization.
The Act addresses serious institutional wrongdoing that affects the broader public interest, and is not intended to address personal disputes or individual complaints of harassment. Personal work-related complaints should still be dealt with through internal processes. However, when individuals make use of human resources channels and procedures under collective agreements, and the organization continues to experience a culture affected by bullying, harassment or intimidation, the Public Interest Commissioner now has the jurisdiction to investigate complaints by employees relating to that mistreatment.
What this means is that there is now a safe way for employees to help promote healthy workplaces without fear of reprisal. Disclosures under the Act are confidential, and the Act protects employees in the public sector when they report wrongdoing in their workplace.
“A safe and healthy workplace is fundamental to the success of an organization. We want to bring awareness to the protections the Act provides and foster open and honest conversations about wrongdoing. An effective public service depends on the commitment of everyone working within it. Our greater goal is to foster a culture where whistleblowing is embraced and where employees and management share a common goal of detecting and remedying wrongdoing.”
Public Interest Commissioner