October 09, 2013 - 10:09 AM
THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – Painful hazing rituals, rumour spreading, insulting or yelling at others. Some people may have memories of this happening while in high school, maybe even college, but the reality is that it's all too common in workplaces as well.
Just as school districts are targeting bullying and harassment in schools, employers will also be expected to take steps to curb it. Starting Nov. 1 in B.C. all employers are required to have a policy in place to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace.
The legislation falls under the Workers Compensation Act and requires the health and safety of everyone in the workplace is ensured, including preventing and addressing workplace bullying and harassment.
Citing the increased instances of absenteeism and impaired work performance, Work B.C. notes harassment can also lead to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. They say bullying and harassment can affect targeted workers as well as witnesses and bystanders.
While harassment and bullying can be traumatic, not every unpleasant interaction or inappropriate conduct is considered harassment. This is why employers will be required to have actual policies in procedures in place to deal with bullying and harassment. In cases where a person knew or reasonably ought to have known their actions or comments would cause humiliation or intimidation, whether it was intended or not, it is considered harassment.
The policies are to cover employers, supervisors, employees, clients and members of the public.
Bill 14, the amendment to the Workers Compensation Act to include bullying, harassment and violence in the workplace, was passed July 2012.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013