HR leaders must review workplace rules in the wake of Ghomeshi-gate

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Less than a month ago, Jian Ghomeshi was considered CBC’s untouchable golden-boy but now, as more and more women come forward with unsavoury tales of sexual harassment, we’re forced to ask ourselves how Ghomeshi survived at the top for so long.

According to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the scandal is shedding light on the culture of poorly enforcing sexual harassment rules in the workplace; “What we're talking about is whether the culture of enforcement and the culture of ongoing review and training is actually taking place," said Wynne.

One of Ghomeshi's former co-workers is reported to have complained about his abusive behaviour to a union representative and the show's executive producer, Arif Noorani, but nothing substantive was done.

It’s a particularly sensitive subject that HR professionals would rather do without but does that mean you too may be guilty of sweeping sexual harassment issues under the rug? Now, Wynne is calling for a complete review of workplace practice surrounding sexual harassment rules.

She reminded listeners that existing legislation governing safe workplaces makes it clear unwanted touching and sexualized comments are entirely unacceptable in the workplace, adding that everyone is responsible for ensuring rules are enforced.

"We all have to be vigilant, wherever we work, wherever we live, to make sure that all the rules are being followed," she said.

The comments also come on the back of recently reported cases in which doctors are allowed to continue practicing despite facing allegations of sexual misconduct. 

"It's one of those things, I think, that people would rather have a zero approach to when it comes to that kind of activity," said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Wynne is now under pressure to create a legislative committee to study issues surrounding sexual harassment at work. The Progressive Conservatives, who are pushing the notion, called the Ghomeshi scandal "a lightening rod" that has finally put the issue on the public agenda.
  • Elaine on 2014-11-05 2:23:46 PM

    I think it goes beyond just sexual harassment. Bullying also gets overlooked when it's a golden boy or girl being complained about. I've seen it countless times. If Wynne is going to do something about it, she needs to look beyond sexual harassment.

  • Jane S. on 2014-11-05 2:37:33 PM

    Interesting that none of the Ontario politicians, including the Premier, mentioned "Bill 168"; it shows how toothless that piece of legislation is.

  • Joanna on 2014-11-06 10:36:37 AM

    In 2009 Bill 168 was introduced... Have we forgotten about it already? A copy of Bill 168 should be posted everywhere in a workplace in Large Bold Font!!!
    http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&BillID=2181

  • kellie on 2014-11-09 2:09:10 PM

    Clearly, a great deal more education needs to take place. As Elaine commented, it's not just sexual harassment that needs to be addressed and it does make you wonder what good Bill 168 has done. But, sexual harassment is also covered by human rights and it seems that was overlooked as well.

  • Anonymous on 2014-11-09 5:08:48 PM

    Golden boy/girl, I brought the subject up not too long ago where a bullying Director turned the table around and accused HR of being malicious. He's been bullied as a child spent most of his elementary and high school days i hiding in his locker.now an child bully who is now the perpetrator.

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