Quebec Passes Bill 42 to Strengthen Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence Protections

Quebec passes Bill 42 to tackle workplace harassment and sexual violence, enhancing protections for workers and increasing employer accountability.

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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Quebec Passes Bill 42 to Strengthen Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence Protections

Quebec Passes Bill 42 to Strengthen Workplace Harassment and Sexual Violence Protections

On March 27, 2024, the Quebec government passed Bill 42, the 'Act to prevent and fight psychological harassment and sexual violence in the workplace.' The new legislation introduces several key measures aimed at enhancing protections for workers who experience harassment or sexual violence on the job.

One of the central provisions of Bill 42 is mandatory training for arbitrators on sexual violence matters. This training is intended to make the complaint process more accessible and supportive for victims. The Act also introduces two legal presumptions to facilitate proof that an employment injury resulting from sexual violence should be recognized as an occupational injury.

Under the new law, the time limit for workers to file a claim for an employment injury or occupational disease resulting from sexual violence has been extended from 6 months to 2 years. This longer window provides victims more time to come forward and seek recourse.

Bill 42 also places restrictions on employer access to workers' medical records to ensure greater confidentiality. Employers or health professionals who violate the rules around accessing these records will face increased fines.

The Act requires all employers to have a workplace policy in place to prevent and manage situations of psychological harassment. The specific content that must be included in these policies is mandated by the new legislation.

Additionally, Bill 42 prohibits the use of amnesty clauses in employment contracts or agreements that would remove previous disciplinary measures for physical or psychological violence, including sexual violence. This ensures a worker's full record is maintained.

Why this matters: The passage of Bill 42 constitutes a significant advancement in protecting Quebec workers from workplace harassment and sexual violence. By providing more support for victims and increasing employer accountability, the law aims to create safer and more respectful work environments across the province.

Quebec Minister of Labor, Employment and Social Solidarity Jean Boulet praised the legislation, stating, "This Act will provide better support for workers who are victims of psychological harassment or sexual violence. It sends a clear message that such behaviors will not be tolerated in Quebec workplaces." Unions and worker advocacy groups also applauded the new protections afforded by Bill 42, which takes effect immediately.

Key Takeaways

  • Quebec passes Bill 42 to tackle workplace harassment and sexual violence.
  • Mandatory training for arbitrators on sexual violence matters.
  • Extended time limit for workers to file claims from 6 months to 2 years.
  • Employers must have policies to prevent and manage psychological harassment.
  • Amnesty clauses for violence removed from employment contracts.