This Friday, November 1, Worksafe BC will begin enforcing new regulations around bullying and harassment in the work place. In other words, bullying has become an issue for which the victim can collect compensation.
Bullying and harassment are defined as any inappropriate conduct or comment by a person to the worker that the person knew or ought to have known would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated.
Work places in B.C. are expected to have a policy in place to deal with bullying by November 1.
Bev Campbell of Kimberley is an Employee Advocate who has written a book, ‘Seven Steps to Overcome Bullying in the Workplace – A Survival Guide’.
While the book was written before Campbell knew that Worksafe BC would be regulating harassment and bullying on the job, it does offer common sense approaches in dealing with on the job bullying. And since Campbell learned about the new regulations, she has studied them and is now offering workshops to help businesses deal with them. She just recently presented a workshop to the Kimberley Chamber of Commerce.
“A lot of people aren’t aware that the regulations are coming,” Campbell said. “The workshop I’m doing tells people what to do to be in compliance. You must have policies in place, and procedures in place. There must be repercussions. Notes have to be kept.”
Campbell said that prior to these regulations, people who were being bullied had no real recourse. She herself was bullied on the job in Alberta and had no place to turn.
“I had to leave the job. The doctors said I was fit to return to work but I couldn’t go back to that company. Had these regulations been in place I could have applied for compensation.”
Campbell says that many people who have been off on stress leave have been bullied at work.
“The are physical and physiological affects that are the result of bullying. If the bully was a supervisor or owner, you really had no place to go. Now you can submit a claim to Worksafe.”
If you are being bullied on the job, you must report it through the company’s established reporting procedures.
“It’s under the category of any work place safety violation,” Campbell said. “They cannot fire you for it, and if there are other actions, it’s a continuation of the bullying.”
Other employees who witness bullying are also able to report it to Worksafe.
“The worker, the supervisor and the employer all have to work together to create a safe work environment,” Campbell said.