Bullying and harassment in the workplace is an increasing topic of concern in British Columbia. First and foremost, bullying and harassment can cause serious emotional and psychological harm to employees and is considered a serious safety issue.
Secondly, bullying and harassment can also result in lost productivity and increased administrative costs for employers.
WorkSafeBC has responded to these concerns by implementing new occupational health and safety requirements in British Columbia workplaces.
Effective November 1, 2013, employers must take reasonable steps to prevent, or otherwise minimize, workplace bullying and harassment. Employers must:
- develop a Policy Statement with respect to bullying and harassment not being acceptable or tolerated;
- inform workers of the Policy Statement;
- enforce compliance with the Policy Statement;
- develop and implement procedures for workers to report incidents of bullying and harassment; and
- develop and implement procedures for investigating complaints of bullying and harassment.
We strongly encourage and recommend all employers to review their workplace policies and practices to ensure they are compliant with these new requirements.
The foregoing provides only an overview. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, a qualified lawyer should be consulted.
© Copyright 2013 McMillan LLP
Article by Adam Kaukas and Claire E. Morton