Contract language checklist

Here is a checklist of what should be included:

A strong statement clearly defining the language’s purpose, objectives, responsibilities and scope:

  • Strong statement of commitment to address violence and sexual violence in the workplace, including a commitment to support survivors of sexual violence.
  • Purpose and objectives of the language.
  • Definition of sexual violence in the workplace, including examples.
  • Definition of consent.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the employer, the union and the workers.
  • Scope of the language and where it applies - e.g. one article for all worksites run by the employer or different articles specific to different work locations.
  • Stated commitment to survivors as being active participants and taking up leadership in the process and a clear statement about any limits to this commitment.
  • High-level commitment to challenging the stigma that surrounds workplace sexual violence.
  • A zero-tolerance policy and list of procedures that helps to prevent incidents of workplace sexual violence.

A clear reporting and investigative process should include:

  • Reporting, disclosure and investigative procedures that prohibit reprisal and retaliation, and that emphasize accountability and transparency.
  • Stated confidentiality safeguards that include clear parameters and possible limits to confidentiality, for example, to ensure worker safety.
  • Identification of who is expected to respond to workplace sexual violence. It may take an emotional toll on those tasked with responding, therefore a system of support should also be developed. This can include regular meetings and check-ins.
  • A review of other workplace policies and practices to ensure that they do not discriminate against those experiencing workplace sexual violence.
  • Procedures such as confidential employee surveys, audits and proactive workplace inspections to identify and control hazards that may lead to workplace sexual violence.
  • Policies and procedures for record keeping and accessing records.

Provisions for training and additional supports should include:

  • Paid leave for survivors of sexual violence.
  • Early access to occupational health services and workplace supports.
  • Provision of an employee assistance program.
  • A mental health policy.
  • Other practical options for investigation and reporting such as the use of a neutral, third party, agreed upon by the union and the employer.
  • Training of all staff, including supervisors and managers, on workplace sexual violence and applicable procedures and policies (ideally jointly with the union). This should happen at the point of hire and should be ongoing.
  • Ongoing awareness and dissemination of new and updated legal and workplace policies and procedures to workers.
  • A list of community resources and supports for people who have been affected by sexual violence (see list at end of guide as a reference point).
  • Information about financial coverage of support services for people who have been impacted by sexual violence in the workplace.