Bullying and harassment in the workplace can have detrimental effects on employees, including mental disorders due to stress in the workplace.
Employers can be held liable to employees for not preventing or dealing with workplace bullying and harassment.
Bullying and harassment in the workplace affects everyone, not just the victim. It can also be a significant cost to employers, such as absenteeism from work, injuries and disability claims, as well as decreased productivity and employee attrition.
In November 2013, Worksafe BC’s new Bullying and Harassment regulations came into effect.
The regulations require provincially regulated employers, supervisors and workers to take reasonable steps to prevent or minimize bullying and harassment in the workplace.
While employers have a legal obligation to take steps to prevent and minimize bullying and harassment in the workplace, there are also good business reasons why the employer should foster respectful relationships and communications at every level.
Workers who have been bullied or harassed at work may claim benefits if they are subsequently diagnosed with mental health disorder due to stress at work.
Worksafe BC have also issued a policy for employers to follow and what is considered reasonable steps to comply with the regulations, such as:
1. Develop policy statement that bullying and harassment is unacceptable in the workplace;
2. Attempt to minimize workplace bullying and harassment;
3. Develop and implement procedures to report workplace bullying and harassment;
4. Develop and implement procedures to investigate and follow up on complaints;
5. Inform all employees of the policy;
6. Train supervisors and workers on how to recognize bullying and harassment in the workplace; and
7. Review the policy with all employees on an annual basis.
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