HR Home Forums Answer for Harassment in the workplace – Team Member Recurrent Discussion – ONTARIO

Conner Lantz
Post count: 4836

I think this case has evolved to the point where you should talk to a lawyer. I can’t give you legal counsel, just a general opinion. As long as you’re cool with that, I’ll proceed.
I think you might have been too easy on the accused. Of course, I don’t know all the facts or context. But generally speaking, physical acts like slapping a co-worker in the butt (whether male-on-male, male-on-female or any other combination,is pretty serious) and calls for more than just a warning (if that’s what you mean by “written up”).
Another problem is that the accused may have violated the terms of his “reminder” by talking to the accuser about the incident. That in itself may be worthy of additional discipline.
As for what you may want to do going forward: First thing I’d consider doing is having the accused sign some kind of probationary or last chance agreement acknowledging the previous violation(s) and promising not to commit any further violations. Specify zero tolerance and that breach may be grounds for immediate dismissal.
The next thing I’d do is get the accused away from the accuser if reasonably possible. Your obligation is to protect the accuser and he’s made it known he feels threatened and wants no part of the accused. It sounds like a fairly reasonable position, too–although, again, I don’t know all the facts. Keeping them on the same team is asking for trouble; and since you’re now on notice, your liability risks are that much higher.
I hope this helps and I urge you to please do talk to a lawyer. Glenn