Pro­tect those who speak out — Geli­nas

The Sudbury Star - - LOCAL - STAR STAFF [email protected]­

NDP Health critic France Géli­nas in­tro­duced a bill this week that would pro­tect health care work­ers who blow the whis­tle on vi­o­lence in their workplace.

If passed, the Speak­ing Out About Workplace Vi­o­lence and Workplace Ha­rass­ment Act would pro­tect nurses, health care work­ers and other work­ers from em­ployer reprisals when they speak out about vi­o­lence or ha­rass­ment in their workplace.

“Un­for­tu­nately, in many On­tario hos­pi­tals and other health care set­tings, workplace vi­o­lence is too of­ten swept un­der the rug,” the Nickel Belt MPP said in a re­lease. “Nurses and other health care work­ers are left to feel like they’re be­ing told that phys­i­cal and ver­bal ha­rass­ment is just part of the job. Vi­o­lence should never be part of the job.

“My bill will pro­tect work­ers from reprisal for speak­ing out against vi­o­lence or ha­rass­ment. No one should head to work wor­ried about

Workplace vi­o­lence is too of­ten swept un­der the rug.

be­ing as­saulted. Even more so, no one’s ca­reer should be neg­a­tively af­fected for rais­ing con­cerns about their personal safety or dig­nity.”

Géli­nas’ bill amends the Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Act to pre­vent any penalty of any kind from be­ing used against an em­ployee for speak­ing out about vi­o­lence or ha­rass­ment. Géli­nas said that could en­cour­age work­ers to speak out when vi­o­lence and ha­rass­ment hap­pens, in­stead of stay­ing silent.

The bill was in­spired by re­search pub­lished in New So­lu­tions, a jour­nal fo­cused on oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety, which was done by the On­tario Coun­cil of Hospi­tal Unions. The pub­lished re­search, “As­saulted and Un­heard: Vi­o­lence Against Health­care Staff” de­scribed the phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, in­ter­per­sonal and fi­nan­cial ef­fects of vi­o­lence in health care in­sti­tu­tions, and put for­ward many pre­ven­tion strate­gies.

So­lu­tions in­clude in­creased staffing, en­hanced se­cu­rity, personal alarms, build­ing de­sign changes, zero tol­er­ance poli­cies, sim­pli­fied re­port­ing, us­ing the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem, bet­ter train­ing, and flag­ging con­cerns when they arise.

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