I work in a shop. Most of the time I work alone or with one other person. We recently got a new manager who hired two new employees. One of them I have conflicts with (back story on workplace.stackexchange.com)

I am concerned for my safety being alone with him. He randomly gets mad. Today he clearly said "I'm not comfortable with you staying and I refuse to work with you" when I asked what was wrong he said it's my work ethic, and he's been here one week. I told him I was stepping outside to speak to the manager one my phone. A minute later he ran outside to interrupt me to ask a work question.

Does the employer have some sort of responsibility to fairly resolve this? Or can they just keep scheduling us for shifts together?

  • There seem so be two questions here- is shouting at someone illegal and does an employer have a duty to protect their employees from each other. Jul 12, 2021 at 10:45
  • I've edited out the second question but feel free to post it as its own question. Jul 12, 2021 at 10:51
  • FYI, Canada and the U.S. differ significantly in the laws pertinent to this question. (I'm not volunteering to provide a U.S. answer.)
    – ohwilleke
    Jul 12, 2021 at 18:23

2 Answers 2


An employer has a duty of care to employees and must take steps to ensure their safety. Notably:

125 (1) Without restricting the generality of section 124, every employer shall, in respect of every work place controlled by the employer and, in respect of every work activity carried out by an employee in a work place that is not controlled by the employer, to the extent that the employer controls the activity,


(y) ensure that the activities of every person granted access to the work place do not endanger the health and safety of employees;

(Canada Labour Code (R.S.C., 1985, c. L-2))

If there is a reasonable belief that the other employee is a danger to you, they should take reasonable steps to prevent this. If they choose to ignore this, they may be liable.

Whether or not there is a reasonable belief they are a danger to you or others here is unclear. Being annoying or rude does not endanger you and they haven't made threats towards you (I assume, since you'd have mentioned otherwise).


Does the employer have some sort of responsibility to fairly resolve this?

Yes. Although yelling or swearing at someone is not necessarily illegal, much of what you describe sounds in coworker's improper activity or behaviour and violence as defined in sections 4.24 and 4.27 of the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. By failing to effectively address the matter, the employer is putting himself might land itself in proceedings pursuant to section 4.26. See also in this other answer the remark on section 2.8.

Try to secure as much evidence of the incidents as you can in case you need to file a complaint with the authorities or in court. For the same reason, make sure your interactions regarding this matter are in writing.

On the Workplace SE post you also mention "the manager asked me to write to her saying I thought our issue had been resolved". Do not do that. In fact, it is premature and quite incompetent of her to come up with that request.

The manager's apparent opinion that the coworker should not be with you is something you want to hear, but that [verbal] statement in and of itself solves absolutely nothing. The problem remains as long as there is a risk that you and the coworker will be scheduled together again. Complying with the manager's request despite your awareness that the problem persists will weaken your legal position if matters escalate.

Lastly, note the manager's request that you write it to her. This illustrates my point of why it is important that your interactions be in writing whenever possible. She is trying to cover herself by putting you in jeopardy.

  • Regarding the note: "She is trying to cover herself by putting you in jeopardy." it's still unclear to me how this works, can you elaborate?
    – user127275
    Jul 15, 2021 at 7:17
  • @user127275 "how this works, can you elaborate?" If the coworker goes out of control and harms you, your written statement would afford the manager the allegation that she was not negligent/reckless/irresponsible. She will say "in fact, here is the writing where the OP himself reflects he considered my performance was good enough", the reality being that she blatantly failed to address the alarming issue you reported. Jul 15, 2021 at 10:03

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