WorksafeBC – Bullying & Harassment Policies

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We have written in the past about Court judgements reiterating the necessity for Employers to ensure their workplaces are free of harassment and bullying.  There is no question that all workplaces must be entirely free of such behaviour.  As an Employer, Stratawest has always taken our obligation to prevent abusive behaviour toward our staff very seriously and that includes those staff we work with at properties we manage. We have a zero tolerance policy for it when it occurs.  Our field is relatively challenging in this regard- as noted in our previous post on the subject we recognize that emotions will be charged when dealing with people’s homes which are almost always also their primary investment.  We try hard to be respectful of individuals who are often coming to us with a challenging issue on what may be one of their worst days, i.e. experiencing a catastrophic loss in their home.  We also try hard to ensure that appropriate limits are placed on the tone of communication directed toward us.  Unfortunately, this sometimes means taking steps such as outright prohibiting individuals from calling and/or visiting our office and demanding that all communication be in writing.We take whatever action is required to correct the situation and protect our workplace environment and we encourage all employers to do the same.

If your Strata Corporation has Employees, it is incumbent upon you to implement a formal Bullying & Harassment policy, in accordance with WorksafeBC requirements.  You can read more about these requirements at Worksafe’s website, which also contains a number of informational documents and templates for policies themselves.  This is mandatory for any Strata Corporation with employees- be they Concierges, Caretakers, Building Managers, Security Guards, Janitors or any class of employee.  Though you do not need a formal policy if all of your services are contracted, that does not relieve you of the obligations to ensure a workplace safe and secure from bullying and harassment.  Behaviour toward independent contractors or indeed even our own employees is also expected to remain professional and free from abuse at all times.

If you do not already have a formal policy in place, it must include at least the following:

Employers must implement procedures for responding to reports or incidents of bullying and harassment. The procedures must ensure a reasonable response to the report or incident and aim to fully address the incident and ensure that bullying and harassment is prevented or minimized in the future.

Developing and implementing procedures for how the employer will deal with incidents or reports of workplace bullying and harassment must include the following:

  • How and when investigations will be conducted
  • What will be included in the investigation
  • The roles and responsibilities of employers, supervisors, workers, and others (such as investigators, witnesses, or union representatives)
  • Follow-up to the investigation (description of corrective actions, time frame, dealing with adverse symptoms, etc.)
  • Record-keeping requirements

 

Fortunately, WorksafeBC makes the creation of a policy quite easy with relatively simple guidance documents available to help you assemble one.  Note that while we are not legal experts, we can assist you with going over these policies and ensure that the appropriate provisions are implemented that suit your specific workplace.