The Policies address the general duties of employers, employees,
and supervisors regarding preventing and minimizing bullying and
harassment in the workplace. WorkSafeBC defines bullying and
harassment to include any inappropriate conduct or comment by a
person towards a worker that the person knew or reasonably ought to
have known would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated,
but excludes any reasonable action taken by an employer or
supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or
the place of employment.
WorkSafeBC also gives guidance to employers regarding what steps
they can take to satisfy their obligations under the WCA
with respect to bullying and harassment. It considers that
reasonable steps that employers can take to prevent or minimize
workplace bullying and harassment include:
developing a policy statement with respect to workplace
bullying and harassment not being acceptable or tolerated;
developing and implementing procedures for workers to report
incidents or complaints of workplace bullying and harassment
including how, when and to whom a worker should report incidents or
developing and implementing procedures for how the employer
will deal with incidents or complaints of workplace bullying and
training supervisors and workers on recognizing the potential
for bullying and harassment, responding to bullying and harassment,
and procedures for reporting bullying and harassment.
In light of the amendments to the WCA and the approval
of the Policies, employers should ensure that they are aware
of their obligations with respect to workplace bullying and
harassment, and that their policies and procedures reflect those
obligations. Such policies and procedures will help to create and
maintain a respectful working environment for employees, and they
will also reduce the risk of claims for employers.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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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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