November 1 effective date
Employers in British Columbia should be thinking about how to meet WorkSafeBC policies on workplace bullying and harassment that take effect November 1, 2013. (See our previous posts on policy and the new legislation.)
WorkSafeBC has promised new guidelines and a toolkit to help employers comply, but there are some things to start thinking about.
The policies set out nine requirements for employers to meet:
- Develop a policy statement about workplace bullying and harassment not being acceptable or tolerated.
- Take steps to prevent or minimize workplace bullying and harassment.
- Develop and implement procedures for reporting bullying and harassment, and specifically provide for reporting an incident when the alleged harasser is the employer, a superviosr or someone acting on behalf of the employer.
- Develop and implement procedures for investigating, following up and recording complaints of bullying and harassment.
- Inform workers of the policy statement in 1 and the steps taken in 2.
- Train supervisors and workers on workplace bullying and harassment.
- Annually review 1 – 4.
- Not engage in bullying and harassment of workers and supervisors.
- Apply and comply with policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.
Here is a suggested approach to get ready in case WorkSafeBC comes calling after November 1:
Immediately review your existing policies and procedures about harassment and similar issues.
By November 1, revise or create policy and procedure to meet the requirements of 1, 3 and 4.
On or around November 1, announce and distribute the policy and procedures, and set dates for training sessions for supervisors and workers. That can be part of the steps you are taking as required by 2 and of which you are required to inform workers under 5.
Complete training of supervisors and workers as soon as possible to comply with 6.
Practice what you preach in the policy and procedure to meet 8 and 9, and schedule a review of 1 – 4 in November 2014 to comply with 7.