A few months ago we had our Worksafe BC Bullying and Harassment training session. We brought in Ingrid Vaughan, who is an HR specialist. The session took an hour and a half, and we did this because since 2013 it has been a legal requirement in British Columbia that businesses have to conduct these sessions, to deal with harassment and bullying.
As much as we’d like to think things are common sense and won’t just happen, one third of people have experienced some form of bullying or harassment in the workplace. In some businesses it is rare, in others it is rampant. Because of all the implications, such as for personal productivity, absenteeism and lost productivity, it is a huge concern, which is why Worksafe BC now legislates it. Having rules and regulations clearly established will help the entirety of the working environment.
What counts as bullying and harassment? The definition is if anything humiliates someone, whether that is verbally, in person, 1-to-1, in a group, or through any kind of electronic communication. It is important to note that it is not the intent that matters, it is how it is perceived.
For example, you might know somebody that has a gruff nature who may say things intending to be nice, but it can be interpreted in different ways. That is the point of the training session, to make people aware that even if they don’t have bad intentions, things can be perceived negatively.
Under the act, workers, managers, and supervisors are obligated to ensure the health and safety of all workers. A variety of things can include bullying, such as snide comments, excluding staff, or taking credit for someone else’s work. Cyberbullying is becoming an increasing problem as well, where it is online harassment.
We are all obligated to report bullying if we see it happening. We can’t ignore it. If you want to find out more, to have a training session in your own office, because not only is it a legal requirement, but it is also for the overall benefit of your staff, you can contact the HR specialist that we use at www.smart-hr.ca or you can find out more at www.worksafebc.com/bullying.
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