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Bullying, Harassment, and Discriminatory Action Initiative

The Bullying, Harassment, and Discriminatory Action Initiative focuses WorkSafeBC resources on conducting education, consultation, and enforcement activities around workplace bullying, harassment, and discriminatory action. A particular emphasis will be placed on small businesses and vulnerable industry sectors.

Bullying, harassment, and discrimination are provincial occupational health and safety issues that poses a potential risk to the physical and mental health and safety of workers. In 2017, WorkSafeBC responded to over 4,800 inquiries and complaints directly related to bullying, harassment, and discriminatory action. These areas have experienced an increase in activity and have a similar inspection, analysis, and file management process. In addition, nearly 50% of the 2017 complaints of discriminatory action cite bullying and harassment as the safety concern raised that led to the alleged discriminatory action. Therefore, these areas have been combined under one initiative to help streamline the complaint review and resolution process.

Goals

  • Improved customer service by way of continuity of service and timely responses
  • Reduced duplication of work
  • Increased and improved outreach
  • Improved and sustained compliance

Approaches

  • Officers will assess employers’ compliance and actions to prevent and minimize bullying, harassment, and discriminatory action around the reporting of health and safety issues in the workplace.
  • Officers will assess employers’ responses to effectively investigate and implement corrective measures in a fair and impartial manner. We will focus on industry sectors identified through the complaint process and targeted industry sectors with vulnerable workers.
  • Officer focus will be on responding to complaints and inquiries.
  • Officers will target employers in the retail, small business, construction, and agricultural sectors. Targeted employers will be inspected to evaluate compliance.
  • Officers will consult and educate within these sectors to support sustainable compliance. Officers will also provide support to the objectives of the Program and Committee Evaluation (PACE) and Serious Injury Prevention Initiative (SIPI) programs.

Deliverables

  • Assess employer compliance through a targeted industry inspection strategy
  • Review and align officer practice within an integrated bullying & harassment and discriminatory action program
  • Facilitate consultation with industry sectors to enhance understanding of employer, supervisor, and worker obligations and enhance compliance
  • Review and update the bullying & harassment resource tool kit
  • Assist industry sectors with educational resources to develop and implement policies, procedures, and training
  • Partner with industry associations to enhance policies and prevention practices in the construction sector

Updates and results

As part of our strategic initiative to develop measures to assess the effectiveness of prevention activities, we are providing updates of our High Risk Strategies and Industry Initiatives.

Note: To save space in bulleted lists, our update documents may refer to occupational health and safety as OHS. All references to the Act, refer to Part Three of the Workers Compensation Act. Penalties and warning letters reported in updates may have been initiated by inspections in a previous quarter.

Related resources