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Saskatchewan broadens workplace harassment protections

Government amendments to the Saskatchewan Employment Act are aiming to build better and safer workplaces for employers and employees.

In bringing the measures forward Thursday, the government also indicated the new law clarifies that any unwelcome action of a sexual nature constitutes harassment. In addition, the harassment provisions will now cover independent contractors, students and volunteers.

With these amendments, Saskatchewan will be one of five jurisdictions to specifically reference sexual harassment in its legislation and to cover contract workers and volunteers.

Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Minister Don Morgan notes the legislation addresses the challenges of the modern work environment and protects vulnerable workers.

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The government also put in other amendments to end the requirement for the Labour Relations Board to exclude supervisory employees from the same bargaining unit as those they supervise, unless the employer and union have entered into an irrevocable election.

The board will be given authority to determine the appropriate bargaining unit, which may include a unit comprised only of supervisors. Also, transition provisions have been added which authorize the board to hear applications from employers or unions to amend certification orders which removed supervisors from the existing bargaining units.

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