Layperson’s introduction to New Brunswick’s legal information sources and lawyers’ Websites

Legal aid in New Brunswick
Civil legal aid in New Brunswick was replaced in 1988 with Domestic Legal Aid, which is available only to victims of domestic violence.

New Brunswick Courts Website

Criminal legal aid -

Domestic legal aid -

Self-representation -

Legal Aid New Brunswick, Saint John
Duty Counsel lawyers at Provincial Court in Sussex, Hampton, Saint John and St. Stephen in both adult and youth courts

Legal aid information for the general public - Law Society of New Brunswick

Legal Aid contact information:

Legal glossary of terms

Found on New Brunswick Courts Website

Mentoring or buddy program

A mentoring or buddy program is a workplace program which is designed to help orient and support new employees by matching them with more experienced employees who have been selected to serve as role models and guides.


Mobbing describes a situation in which a target is selected and bullied by a group of people rather than by one individual. Whether such behaviour is organized, encouraged by a ringleader, or occurs by chance, the target is left with nowhere to turn for support. (Adapted from The Tim Field Foundation, Bully OnLine: ) Note: In parts of Europe, the term mobbing is often used interchangeably with the word bullying.

Personal diminishment

Personal diminishment is a term that describes being made to feel worthless, unwelcome, incompetent, ashamed, or unsafe. (Adapted from Joe Fris, Professor Emeritus, University of Alberta)

Personal harassment

Personal harassment includes objectionable or offensive conduct, comments, or gestures that demean, belittle, humiliate, or embarrass their target. Any reasonable person would recognize that such behaviour is unwelcome. It may occur once or on an ongoing basis. (Adapted from the Harassment in the Workplace Policy – New Brunswick Public Service)

Physical violence

Physical violence is the use of physical force that results in physical, sexual, or psychological harm to another or to another’s property. In includes, among other things, beating, kicking, slapping, stabbing, shooting, pushing, biting, and pinching. (Adapted from WHO definition of violence)

Poisoned work environment/Toxic workplace

A poisoned work environment is one in which sexual, racial or religious insults or jokes, abusive treatment of an employee, graffiti, the display of pornographic or other offensive material, and other hostile behaviours occur. The outcome is a workplace where many people feel uncomfortable, uneasy, or unsafe. The behaviours may be generalized and not necessarily directed at anyone in particular. (Adapted from the Harassment in the Workplace Policy – New Brunswick Public Service – )


Postvention includes debriefing processes and a range of support services that are provided to employees following a negative workplace event.


“Presenteeism” refers to workers who are physically in the workplace but whose minds are elsewhere. This state of mind can contribute to accidents and errors. When people are feeling bullied and harassed, it can be very difficult to concentrate on the job at hand.

Progressive discipline

Progressive discipline is a process for dealing with job-related behavior that does not meet expected and communicated performance standards. The primary purpose for progressive discipline is to assist the employee to understand that a performance problem or opportunity for improvement exists.

The process features increasingly formal efforts to provide feedback to employees so they can correct the problem. The goal of progressive discipline is to improve employee performance.

The process of progressive discipline is not intended as a punishment for an employee, but to assist the employee to overcome performance problems and satisfy job expectations. Progressive discipline is most successful when it assists an individual to become an effectively performing member of the organization.

Failing that, progressive discipline enables the organization to fairly, and with substantial documentation, terminate the employment of employees who are ineffective and unwilling to improve. (Adapted from Human Resources:

Psychological harassment/ Psychological violence

Psychological harassment is repeated, vexatious, hostile, or unwanted conduct (comments, actions, or gestures) that undermines an employee’s dignity or psychological or physical well-being. Examples include isolating and silencing the target, publicly criticizing a person’s work, refusing to talk to a person, subjecting another to ridicule, giving humiliating or impossible tasks, treating another as if s/he didn’t exist, and creating a war of nerves. Psychological harassment is recognized in the province of Quebec under labour code legislation introduced on June 1, 2004. Saskatchewan has added similar provisions within its occupational health and safety legislation.

(Adapted from Michel Gélinas, “Psychological Harassment in the Workplace: See to it Before June 1st, 2004…” in In Fact and In Law, Lavery, DeBilly Barristers and Solicitors)

Psychological violence is the intentional use of power, including threat or physical force, against another person or group that can result in harm to physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. It includes verbal abuse, bullying/mobbing, harassment and threats. (Adapted from WHO definition of violence, )

It is increasingly recognized that personal psychological violence is often perpetrated through repeated behaviour, of a type which by itself may be relatively minor but which

cumulatively can become a very serious form of violence. Although a single incident can suffice, psychological violence often consists of repeated, unwelcome, unreciprocated and imposed words or action which may have a devastating effect on the target. (ILO 2002, p. 3, )

Reasonable accommodation

Reasonable accommodation is the requirement for an employer to identify and correct workplace conditions which create a discriminatory barrier. It may mean physical changes to the work space or equipment, or adaptation of rules, policies, or procedures. Employers and service providers are expected to exhaust all reasonable possibilities for accommodation before they can claim that it presents undue hardship.

Return-to-work planning

Return-to-work planning is the development of strategies that are aimed at re-integrating an absent employee back into the work unit. When an employee has been on leave for medical, stress-related, or disciplinary reasons, careful planning will help to smooth their transition back to the workplace. The employee, management, the employee’s health care provider, and the parties to any disciplinary action should be involved in planning for the return to work. Any changes to work hours, duties, workload, performance expectations, or reporting relationships should be discussed. A process should be developed for monitoring the return-to-work and reviewing or revising the return-to-work plan as needed.

Risk management

Risk management is the process of identifying and reducing or eliminating risks to an organization’s property, interests and employees, minimizing and containing the costs and consequences in the event of harmful or damaging incidents arising from those risks, and providing for adequate and timely compensation, restoration and recovery.

Adapted from Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment means any unwanted and unwelcome conduct, comment, gesture or contact of a sexual nature, whether on a one-time basis or a series of incidents,

a. that might reasonably be expected to cause offence or humiliation; or

b. that might reasonably be perceived as placing a condition of a sexual nature on employment, an opportunity for training or promotion, receipt of services or a contract.

(Adapted from the Harassment in the Workplace Policy – New Brunswick Public Service)

Steering committee

A steering committee is usually made up of people within an organizational who help to invite organizational investment in an issue. Their involvement is most significant at the beginning with new initiatives or projects and diminishes as the project moves through its initial implementation cycle. When the project is over, the group is disbanded.

Target or victim

A target or victim is any person who is made the object of workplace bullying, harassment, abuse, intimidation, threats, or physical, sexual, or psychological violence.

Threat assessment

Threat assessment is the process of analyzing the level of danger posed by a given situation, and assessing the most appropriate form of response.

Threats or intimidation

Threats and intimidation include any form of communication that indicates an intent to injure and gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that there is a risk of harm. This includes threats against a worker’s family or personal property. Examples of threats include:

Threats (direct or indirect) delivered in person or through written communication, phone calls, VoiceMail, or e-mail)
Intimidating or frightening gestures such as shaking fists at another person, pounding a desk or computer, punching a wall, angrily jumping up and down, or screaming
• Throwing or striking objects
Wielding a weapon, or carrying a concealed weapon for the purpose of threatening or injuring a person
• Not controlling a dog menacing (for example, growling at) a worker

(Adapted from WorkSafe BC, 2000)

Undue hardship

Undue hardship describes the point beyond which reasonable accommodation cannot be made. There is no formula for deciding what costs represent undue hardship and there is no precise definition of “undue hardship.” Employers and service providers are expected to exhaust all reasonable possibilities for accommodation before they can claim undue hardship.

Undue hardship exists when “accommodation of the needs of an individual or a class of individuals affected would impose undue hardship on the person who would have to accommodate those needs, considering health, safety and cost.”

All three of these factors—health, safety and cost—should be considered when determining if an accommodation creates an undue hardship.

It is not enough to offer subjective assumptions or impressionistic evidence about what is or is not possible, nor can one simply say, “It costs too much to accommodate” or “Accommodation would present health and safety concerns.” To prove undue hardship, you have to provide evidence.

The Supreme Court has listed other factors that may also be considered:

• the type of work performed,
• the size of the workforce,
• the interchangeability of job duties,
• financial ability to accommodate,
• the impact on a collective agreement, and
• impact on employee morale.

These factors will vary from case to case, as will the importance of each factor.
Canadian Human Rights Commission )


Whistleblowing is the process of informing someone outside the organization of an unacceptable situation within a workplace. People blow the whistle on their firm precisely because they cannot solve, or even report, serious problems inside its doors. It is their last resort, not their first choice. Only after one has failed to have a problem addressed within the organization does whistleblowing become an option. Given the career risk, anonymity is often necessary. The aim is not to make a name for oneself, or to pursue a personal vendetta or pet crusade, or even to blame anyone. The aim is to report the problem and get it solved. (Adapted from Di Norcia, V. (1998). Hard like water: Ethics in business. Toronto: Oxford University Press, p. 63)

Whistleblower protection

Whistleblower protection is legislation that prohibits employers from taking specific employment actions against someone who reports an unacceptable workplace situation to a source outside the organization. In New Brunswick, whistleblowers are protected by the Employment Standards Act. Employers are not allowed to dismiss, suspend, lay off, or otherwise penalize an employee for whistleblowing.

Adapted from the Human Resources and Social Development Canada Website


The workplace includes but is not limited to the physical work site, washrooms, cafeterias, training sessions, business travel, conferences, work related social gatherings, the employee’s or client’s home or worksite, and travel to and from home to a place of work.
Adapted from Harassment in the Workplace Policy – New Brunswick Public Service

Workplace bullying

Workplace bullying encompasses both intentional and unwitting behaviours (words, gestures, images, actions, and failure to act) which, over time, humiliate, demoralize, or terrorize an employee or group of employees, undermine their targets’ credibility and effectiveness, and contribute to a disrespectful or hostile work environment. (Research Team on Workplace Violence and Abuse, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research, University of New Brunswick)

Workplace culture/climate

Workplace culture/climate refers to the atmosphere and created environment within an organization. Many organizations have statements of vision, mission, values, and guiding principles that are intended to describe the workplace culture. These documents must be widely available, understood by employees and put into daily practice. Some of the more subtle elements include:

• the tone of the workplace (formal or informal, competitive or collaborative, welcoming or
unfriendly, supportive or hostile)
• its unwritten rules (“how we really do things here”)
• levels of trust and respect
• how people treat one another
• how valued and accepted people feel
• how the organization handles mistakes, conflict, and negative workplace events
• how engaged employees feel in their work and in the organization
• how actively employee feedback, suggestions, and ideas are encouraged
• employee job satisfaction
• investment in people’s learning and development
• loyalty, commitment, and sustainability planning

Workplace incivility

Workplace incivility is subtle, rude or disrespectful behavior that demonstrates lack of regard for other people.
Adapted from Envisionworks, Inc. What is workplace incivility?

Some common examples of uncivil behavior include: habitually interrupting when others are speaking, eye-rolling, not paying attention when others are speaking, not responding to messages that require a reply, condescension, not sharing credit for collaborative work, asking for input and then ignoring it or discounting it, overruling decisions without direct discussion and rationale, keeping others waiting unnecessarily for essential information or resources, habitually arriving late to meetings, standing impatiently over someone while waiting for undivided attention, disruptive or inappropriate behaviour at meetings, using up supplies or breaking equipment without notifying anyone.
Incivility is largely in the eye of the beholder. It may also be unintentional. It is always wise to begin by exploring the cause of the behavior. (Adapted from Advance for Healthcare Careers)

Workplace safety

Workplace safety has traditionally focused on the prevention of accidents, injuries, and fatalities – the physical side of safety -- but it now encompasses psychological and emotional safety at work, as well.

Wrongful dismissal

Wrongful dismissal describes a situation in which an employer dismisses, fires, lays off or restructures someone out of a job without reasonable notice or proper compensation. There are some important exceptions: Employees let go for just cause cannot claim wrongful dismissal. Employees hired for a fixed-term contract cannot claim wrongful dismissal at the end of the contract period. Employees in unionized workplaces cannot sue employers for wrongful dismissal; instead, they can file a grievance if they have been unfairly dismissed. Often, the union may be able to help employees get their jobs back. If the union unfairly refuses to provide proper assistance, employees may be able to file an unfair representation complaint with the appropriate provincial or federal labour relations board.
Adapted from:

SOURCES: Human Resources:

Advance for Healthcare Careers

Canadian Human Rights Commission

Corcoran, M.H. and Cawood, J. S. (2003).
Violence assessment and intervention: The practitioner’s
handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Envisionworks, Inc. What is workplace incivility?

Equality Branch, CUPE, Stop harassment: A guide for CUPE locals

Fitzgerald, M. F. (2006). Corporate circles: Transforming conflict and building trusting teams.
Vancouver, BC: Quinn Publishing. Also..

Harassment in the Workplace Policy, New Brunswick Public Service

Human Resources and Social Development Canada Website

International Labour Office, International Council of Nurses, World Health Organisation,
Public Services International (2002).
Framework guidelines for addressing workplace violence in the health sector.
Geneva: International Labour Office. ( )

JICS Legal Information Service

Gélinas, Michel, “Psychological Harassment in the Workplace:
See to it Before June 1st, 2004…” in In Fact and In Law, Lavery, DeBilly Barristers and Solicitors

New Brunswick Human Rights Commission

New Brunswick Public Service, Harassment in the Workplace Policy

Research Team on Workplace Violence and Abuse,
Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence Research,
University of New Brunswick

The Tim Field Foundation, Bully OnLine:

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat – )

WorkSafe BC, 2000, Preventing violence in health care:
Five steps to an effective
program. Workers’ Compensation Board of British Columbia

(WorkSafe BC – Coping with critical incident stress at work

World Health Organization (WHO)


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