Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sexual Harassment, Cannabis Are Top Legal Risks in Canada This Year: Law Firm

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Sexual Harassment, Cannabis Are Top Legal Risks in Canada This Year: Law Firm

Article excerpt

Sexual harassment, cannabis among top legal risks

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MONTREAL - The hot button issues of sexual harassment in the workplace and cannabis legalization joined a leading Canadian law firm's annual top 10 list of legal risks for businesses in 2018.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP included sexual harassment in its annual list of legal risks for businesses after a series of celebrities, media personalities, politicians and others have been accused of misconduct in recent months.

The #MeToo movement began in a challenge of systematic harassment and abuse of women following the October takedown of Hollywood producer and alleged sexual predator Harvey Weinstein.

Law firm partner Andrew Harrison said that while businesses can't change the past, they can take proactive steps to manage the risks going forward.

"People are now feeling more empowered to come forward with these types of complaints where they would have otherwise stayed silent as many people have for a long time," he said in an interview.

"So I do think that there's a greater risk of these types of claims coming forward in the future."

Borden Ladner Gervais suggests that employers undertake a thorough review of their harassment-related policies and procedures to ensure they meet legal obligations and encourage victims to step forward and report misconduct in a timely manner.

They should have resources implement employee hotlines, and designate company representatives to promptly respond to, investigate and resolve complaints. Three-quarters of those who experienced sexual harassment faced obstacles trying to resolve the issues, said the report.

The law firm said employers should also be proactive by promoting harassment policies, clarify expectations about workplace conduct and have regular training sessions to clarify standards of conduct for everyone. …

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