On November the 1st 2013, WCB will introduce new OHS policies for dealing with workplace conflict. These Bullying and Harassment at Work processes are designed to help workers, employers and supervisors prevent and address workplace conflict through policy, reporting and follow-up. A full explanation of these is available in a 10 page PDF from WCB. What follows is an overview for you, along with some tools to help carry out the changes and educate staff and yourself appropriately.Artists depiction of bullying

Why are the changes happening?

Bullying and Harassment at work can lead to illness, injury or death. The Workers Compensation Act requires an employer to take all reasonable steps to ensure worker health and safety, including education and training. Worksafe BC has now identified for us what it considers to be reasonable steps to take in preventing Bullying and Harassment at work.

What are the expectations for employers?

The short version of the expectations for dealing with this type of workplace conflict is:

  1. Develop policy
  2. Take steps to prevent or reduce Bullying and Harassment at work
  3. Develop & implement reporting procedures, including what to do if the supervisor/manager is alleged to be responsible for the Bullying or Harassment
  4. Develop & implement investigative & follow-up procedures for dealing with reports
  5. Keep workers informed
  6. Train supervisors & workers
  7. Review policy annually

Staff bulliesWorker Expectations

  1. Don’t be responsible for Bullying and Harassment at work
  2. Report any Bullying or Harassment at work, either experienced or observed
  3. Apply & comply with employer policy as outlined above

Tools to help you and your staff deal with workplace conflict

WCB has put together a whole heap of helpful tools for you to use. They’re all available right here. Included on the page are:

  • 4 Short video clips
  • Toward a respectful workplace: A handbook on preventing and addressing workplace bullying and harassment
  • 7 Fact Sheet/FAQ documents
  • A Small Business guide
  • Guides to policy development , reporting and investigating.
  • A worker checklist
  • A PDF to train staff on the new legislation
  • 4 posters
  • Summary sheets in 7 different languages.

Along with this of course, we have our own online courses ready for you and your staff to get trained in dealing with workplace conflict right now:
Diversity & Discrimination for Supervisors 
Sexual Harassment for Supervisors  
Workplace Violence, Awareness & Prevention
Whatever route you chose to take, don’t hide from this topic! It’s not long before it comes in to force, so be ready.