BC Adopts New Workplace Bullying and Harassment Policies

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Mike Rich
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The WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved three new OHS policies aimed at preventing workplace bullying and harassment.

An employer has a duty to ensure the health and safety of its workers, and as a result, employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent where possible, or otherwise minimize, workplace bullying and harassment, according to Worksafe BC.

The new policies, sections 115, 116 and 117 of the Workers Compensation Act, set out the general duties of employers, workers, and supervisors.

According to Worksafe BC the new policies were developed to clarify the obligations of employers, workers, and supervisors regarding preventing, where possible, or otherwise minimizing workplace bullying and harassment.

The responsibilities of employer, employee and supervisor are detailed below. These new requirements are now in effect.

Employer

Take the following steps to prevent or if not possible, minimize workplace bullying and harassment:

a)    Develop a policy statement with respect to workplace bullying and harassment not being acceptable or tolerated;

b)    Develop and implement 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 complaints. Included must be procedures for a worker to report if the employer, supervisor or person acting on behalf of the employer, is the alleged bully and harasser

c)    Developing and implement procedures for how the employer will deal with incidents or complaints of workplace bullying and harassment including:

i.        how and when investigations will be conducted;

ii.        what will be included in the investigation;

iii.        roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers and others;

iv.        follow-up to the investigation (description of corrective actions, timeframe, dealing with adverse symptoms, etc.); and

v.        record keeping requirements;

d)    Inform workers of the policy statement in (a) and the steps taken in (b);

e)    Train supervisors and workers on:

i.        recognizing the potential for bullying and harassment;

ii.        responding to bullying and harassment; and

iii.        procedures for reporting, and how the employer will deal with incidents  or complaints of bullying and harassment in (c) and (d) respectively;

f)     Annually reviewing sections a,b, and c.

g)    Not engaging in bullying and harassment of workers and supervisors; and

h)    Apply and comply with the employer’s policies and procedures on  bullying and harassment.

 

Worker Responsibilities

A worker’s obligation to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of themselves or others includes:

a)    Not engaging in bullying and harassment of other workers, supervisors, the  employer or persons acting on behalf of the employer;

b)    Reporting if bullying and harassment is observed or experienced in the  workplace; and

c)    Applying and complying with the employer’s policies and procedures on  bullying and harassment.

 

Supervisor responsibilities

A supervisor’s obligation to ensure health and safety of workers includes:

a)    Not engaging in bullying and harassment of workers, other supervisors, the  employer or persons acting on behalf of the employer; and

b)    Applying and complying with the employer’s policies and procedures on  bullying and harassment.

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