Pelham passes public code of conduct to protect town staff

CKTB - NEWS - Pelham Council Oct 19 2020

Pelham council has passed a public code of conduct as town staff face an increased amount of harassment at work due to the pandemic and COVID-19 protocols.

A report says while the behavioural shift may be understandable due to the increased stress of the pandemic, the municipality has an obligation to provide a safe work environment.

The motion to accept the new policy passed unanimously, giving staff the power to block electronic or telephone communication from a harasser or issue a short term ban or longer term trespass orders.

"Really what it says is don't abuse town volunteers and town staff. So that's the only prohibition. It's, you know, don't be abusive in behaviour, tenor, tone, language, etc. And I think that's a fair and reasonable standard and expectation." CAO David Cribbs said. "And in fairness, it is one that the overwhelming majority of residents consistently adhere to. But obviously this is brought in the context of coronavirus, it will survive the coronavirus, I do think its the appropriate thing to have. Basically the pandemic is the impetus - a lot of people are under stress and some of us, on occasion, are maybe having shorter fuses and are not dealing with that stress very well."

Director of Recreation Vickie vanRavensway says there have been issues in the past when patrons were asked to submit to a temperature check or wear a mask, but staff are noticing some improvements.

"This past weekend, we had a good weekend. We had one minor incident, but it was taken care of."