Employers in British Columbia should be thinking about how
to meet WorkSafeBC policies on workplace bullying and
harassment that take effect November 1, 2013. (See our
previous posts on
policy and the
WorkSafeBC has promised new guidelines and a toolkit to help
employers comply, but there are some things to start thinking
The policies set out nine requirements for employers to
Develop a policy statement about workplace bullying and
harassment not being acceptable or tolerated.
Take steps to prevent or minimize workplace bullying and
Develop and implement procedures for reporting bullying and
harassment, and specifically provide for reporting an
incident when the alleged harasser is the employer, a
superviosr or someone acting on behalf of the employer.
Develop and implement procedures for investigating, following
up and recording complaints of bullying and harassment.
Inform workers of the policy statement in 1 and the steps taken
Train supervisors and workers on workplace bullying and
Annually review 1 – 4.
Not engage in bullying and harassment of workers and
Apply and comply with policies and procedures on bullying and
Here is a suggested approach to get ready in case WorkSafeBC
comes calling after November 1:
Immediately review your existing policies and procedures
about harassment and similar issues.
By November 1, revise or create policy and procedure to
meet the requirements of 1, 3 and 4.
On or around November 1, announce and distribute the policy and
procedures, and set dates for training sessions for supervisors and
workers. That can be part of the steps you are taking as
required by 2 and of which you are required to inform workers under
Complete training of supervisors and workers as soon as possible
to comply with 6.
Practice what you preach in the policy and procedure to meet 8
and 9, and schedule a review of 1 – 4 in November 2014 to
comply with 7.
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.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
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.
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