Workplace Policy Evaluation: A 10-Step Checklist for Canadian HR Professionals 

Workplace policies are essential tools for addressing harassment complaints and investigating misconduct. They set out obligations for employees to treat others with dignity and respect and outline the steps to file a complaint if mistreatment occurs. However, some employers find themselves restricted by policies that are too rigid, leading to confusion rather than certainty.

Certainty or Confusion: A Delicate Balance

Policies are meant to guide processes and add predictability, but they can sometimes create uncertainty or confusion.

For example, defining “bullying” strictly as an abuse of power between manager and subordinate can lead to problems when dealing with unfair criticism or insolent behavior among colleagues.

Similarly, rigid timelines for responding to complaints can create unnecessary tension and chaos, especially when the initial complaint requires significant clarification and organization.

Regain Control: Practical Steps and Resources

To help you regain control and make your policies work for you, consider the following steps:

  1. Go through the Checklist below! That will give you a quick indication of where you need to focus next.
  2. Update for Remote Interviews: Since the pandemic, many investigation interviews, PIP plan implementations and more are conducted via video conference. Update your policy to reflect this change and bolster confidentiality language.
  3. Join Our Webinars: Consider attending our regular FREE webinars to review problematic language in your policies and receive tips for improvement. A few topics have included:
    – PIP and Chronic Mental Stress Claims
    – Behind the Lawsuit: Unraveling Workplace Investigation Missteps
    – Sexual Harassment Investigations
  4. Review Policies with an Employment Lawyer: If your Policies haven’t been reviewed in a a few years, there are a suite of new employment laws and best practices. It’s a good idea to work with an employment lawyer to identify inconsistencies with statutory definitions and ensure a fair and efficient investigation procedure.

Checklist: 10 Things to Look for in Effective Workplace Policies

  1. Clarity: Are the terms and definitions clear and consistent with statutory requirements?
  2. Flexibility: Does the policy allow for adaptability in different situations?
  3. Accessibility: Is the policy easily accessible to all employees?
  4. Compliance with Laws: Does the policy comply with all relevant federal and provincial laws?
  5. Training and Awareness: Are employees trained and aware of the policy?
  6. Regular Review: Is the policy regularly reviewed and updated as needed?
  7. Complaint Procedure: Is there a clear and fair procedure for filing and handling complaints
  8. Confidentiality Assurance: Does the policy ensure confidentiality during investigations?
  9. Alignment with Company Values: Does the policy align with the overall values and culture of the organization?
  10. Monitoring and Evaluation: Are there mechanisms in place to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the policy?


Workplace policies are vital for maintaining a respectful and harmonious work environment. By ensuring clarity, flexibility, and alignment with legal requirements, you can create policies that truly work for you.
Join us for our next webinar. You’ll find our upcoming events here:

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