The British Columbia legislature recently tabled amendments to
Bill 14—the WORKERS COMPENSATION AMENDMENT ACT,
2011—to address bullying and harassment in the workplace.
The amendments to Bill 14, among other things, expand workers'
compensation to expressly address mental disorders caused by
significant work-related stressors such as bullying and harassment.
In addition, WorkSafeBC, the entity tasked with the administration
of the Workers' Compensation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996 c. 492, will,
in consultation with stakeholders, be amending and updating its
existing workplace violence policies and procedures to deal
specifically with claims of bullying and harassment. It is
anticipated that these amendments will include a requirement for
employers to implement formal prevention plans. Bill 14 had its
second reading in the legislature on May 3 and is not yet law.
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Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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