Bullying & Harassment: Your Requirement As An Employer

Workplace bullying and harassment can have significant costs to both employers and employees; it can create a hostile work environment that leads to stress and health issues, absenteeism, loss of productivity, lack of commitment to the company and even legal issues.

Workplace bullying and harassment 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.  It excludes any reasonable action taken by the employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment.

Under the Workers Compensation Act:

Employers must:

  • Not engage in bullying and harassment.
  • Develop a bullying and harassment policy statement.
  • Take steps to prevent or minimize bullying and harassment.
  • Develop and implement procedures for reporting incidents and complaints, including procedures for reporting when the employer, supervisor or owner is the alleged bully or harasser.
  • Develop and implement procedures for dealing with incidents or complaints.
  • Inform workers of the policy statement and prevention measures.
  • Train workers and supervisors.
  • Annually review the policy statement and procedures.

While the list of employer responsibilities may seem daunting, WorkSafeBC has provided a wealth of resources to enable employers to comply. 

Following are some simple steps and links to resources to comply with WorksafeBC requirements:

  • Use this WorkSafeBC template to develop a policy statement:
  • Take steps to minimize bullying and harassment:  If an employer is aware of circumstances that present a risk of workplace bullying and harassment, preventative measures must be in place.  For example, in an environment where clients are known to be verbally aggressive, an employer might have a screening process for phone calls, and a policy to escalate angry customers to a manager.
  • Use this WorkSafeBC template to develop reporting procedures:
  • Use this WorkSafeBC template to develop investigation procedures
  • Inform workers of the policy statement and prevention measures:  Create a bulletin board that is prominently displayed in the workplace to display the policy statement, reporting procedures and investigative procedures. Make sure each new employee is aware of the bullying and harassment policy as part of their orientation process.
  • Use this Powerpoint presentation for training workers and supervisors.  Make sure to have each employee sign an attendance record that can be kept in their files. 

Once you have established bullying and harassment policies and procedures, make sure you hold an annual meeting to review these with your employees.

Disclaimer: Avisar Chartered Professional Accountant’s blog deals with a number of complex issues in a concise manner; it is recommended that accounting, legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein.

Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this post accepts any contractual, tortious, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.