Defining workplace bullying and harassment

Photo: darkismus on Flickr

It’s up for discussion in BC – and many other places.

Employers, supervisors, and workers in BC are invited to share their views on a discussion paper and proposed new OHS policies regarding workplace bullying and harassment, published by WorkSafeBC.

BC employers, supervisors, and employees in all industries are asked to share comments in support for – or disagreement with – the new policy.

You can comment by email, fax, mail, or online til 4:30 pm, Friday, September 28, 2012.

What’s changed?

“The current workplace conduct regulations… focus on the attempted or actual exercise of physical force and include any threatening statement or behaviour that would give a worker reasonable cause to believe he or she was at risk of injury,” reads the discussion paper. “This can be interpreted as including some, but not all, bullying and harassing behaviour.”

Here’s the proposed definition – “generally consistent with the other Canadian jurisdictions” — of bullying and harassment, which:

(a) includes any inappropriate vexatious 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, offended or intimidated, but

(b) excludes any reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment.

Elsewhere in Canada

Saskatchewan amended its Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations in 2007 to include provisions for harassment. More info in Saskatchewan’s Harassment Prevention Guide.

Manitoba also amended its Workplace Safety and Health Regulation in 2011 to “protect workers from psychological harassment in the workplace, such as intimidation, bullying, humiliation, and harassment.” More info on the SafeManitoba website.

Quebec has amended its Act Respecting Labour Standards in 2002 to include psychological harassment. Ontario has amended its Occupational Health and Safety Act in 2010 to include a section that combines provisions for both violence and harassment.

Read more from WorkSafeBC about Occupational health and safety hazard: Workplace bullying and harassment.

Stay tuned for another post on this topic and what people are saying about it online.


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