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11.1 Policy

The British Columbia Conservation Foundation does not condone or tolerate workplace violence or bullying and harassment of any kind. We are committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all staff. Any complaint will be treated seriously, fairly and confidentially. This policy statement applies to all workers and will be reviewed annually.

Key Definitions

Workplace Bullying and Harassment is any inappropriate conduct or comment made by a person towards a worker that the person knew, or reasonably ought to have known, would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated.

Examples include:

  • Verbal aggression or insults
  • Calling someone derogatory names
  • Harmful hazing or initiation practices
  • Vandalizing personal belongings
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Cyber-bullying

Reasonable actions taken by employers or supervisors relating to the management and direction of workers are not considered to be Bullying and Harassment.

Workplace Violence is the attempted or actual exercise by a person, other than a worker, of any physical force to cause injury to a worker, and includes any threatening statement or behaviour which gives a worker reasonable cause to believe that he or she is at risk of injury.

11.2 Responsibilities

Management

  • Develop a policy statement on bullying and harassment
  • Take steps in preventing bullying and harassment
  • Develop and implement procedures for reporting and dealing with incidents of bullying and harassment or workplace violence
  • Educate all BCCF personnel on the violence, bullying and harassment policy
  • Annually review the policy statement and all procedures relating to bullying and harassment
  • Do not engage in any form of bullying or harassment

Supervisor

  • Actively take steps to prevent bullying and harassment from occurring
  • Report if bullying and harassment is observed or experienced
  • Follow the BCCF procedure for handling bullying and harassment
  • Do not engage in any form of bullying or harassment

Workers

  • Report if bullying and harassment is observed or experienced
  • Follow the BCCF procedure for handling bullying and harassment
  • Do not engage in any form of bullying or harassment
  • Report Incidents of Workplace Violence

11.3 Bullying and Harassment Procedure

If you are being Bullied and Harassed:

  • Keep detailed records of any incidents that occur
  • If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, tell the bully that their behaviour is inappropriate. Sometimes they are unaware of the effects of their actions
  • Make it clear the behaviour is unwanted and unacceptable
  • Stay calm
  • Don’t retaliate
  • Report it

11.3.1 Reporting Incidents of Workplace Violence or Bullying and Harassment

When to report: As soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing an incident.

How to report: Report incidents to a Project Coordinator or the Safety Administrator.

What to include in the report: Provide as much information as possible. Include the names of people involved, any witnesses, where the events occurred, when they occurred, and what behaviour led to the incident. Any evidence available (e.g. emails, notes or photographs) should also be submitted.

Tools: Bullying and Harassment Complainant Incident Description

Workplace Violence Incident Report

11.3.2 Informal Mediation for Bullying and Harassment

If circumstances permit it, mediation can come before a formal investigation. Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party helps the people involved reach a solution which is acceptable to both parties. However, mediation is optional and either party has the right to refuse.

11.3.3 Formal Investigations of Bullying and Harassment

If mediation does not succeed or is not appropriate, the BCCF supports its employees in filing a formal complaint. A fair and impartial documented investigation will then be conducted by a Project Coordinator or the Safety Administrator. Employees are expected to cooperate with the investigation.

Investigations will be:

  • Undertaken promptly and thoroughly
  • Fair and impartial, providing both the complainant and respondent equal treatment in evaluating statements
  • Respectful to the interests of all parties involved
  • Confidential
  • Focused on finding facts and evidence

Co-workers may be assigned to different work areas during mediation or investigation.

The involved parties will be advised of the investigation findings. They will be informed of any corrective measures and disciplinary actions within one week of investigation completion.

11.4 Corrective Actions and Remedies 

The BCCF will make every reasonable effort to remedy the effects of bullying and harassment. A person may receive one or more of the following remedies, depending on the severity of the bullying and harassment and what he or she lost because of it:

  • An oral or written apology from the harasser and the Foundation
  • Reimbursement of lost wages
  • A job or promotion that was denied
  • Compensation for any lost employment benefits, such as sick leave
  • Compensation for hurt feelings
  • A commitment that he or she will not be transferred, or will have a transfer reversed unless he or she chooses to move

No record of the complaint, investigation or decision will go in the employee's personnel file if the complaint was made in good faith. Any unfavourable work review or comments that were placed in the complainant's file because of the harassment will be removed.

In the rare event that a complaint was made in bad faith -- in other words, the complaint was filed without basis and with deliberate and malicious intent -- that person will be disciplined and a record of the incident will be put in her or his file.

11.4.1 Corrective Action for Bullies/Harassers

Someone who has bullied and harassed another person will have the incident documented in their work file and could be subject to one or more of the following forms of discipline, depending on the severity of the harassment:

  • A written reprimand
  • Suspension, with or without pay
  • A transfer, if it is not reasonable for the people involved to continue working together
  • A demotion
  • Dismissal

If the investigation does not find evidence to support the complaint, there will be no documentation concerning the complaint placed in the file of the alleged harasser.

11.5 Retaliation

Retaliation is considered a serious disciplinary breach. Anyone who retaliates in any way against a person who has complained of bullying and harassment, given evidence in an investigation, or been found guilty of bullying and harassment, will themselves be considered guilty of harassment and penalized accordingly. The possible penalties are the same as those assessed against harassers.

11.6 Appeal

A person directly involved in a complaint may appeal to the Project Coordinator (or the Executive Director, if the Project Coordinator made the initial decision or is a party to the complaint) within a week of learning of the decision. If the Project Coordinator believes there is sufficient reason to re-investigate or to change the penalty, compensation, or work assignment, he or she may make that decision within one week. If you are dissatisfied with the results of your appeal you may go directly to the appropriate Provincial Human Rights Commission.

11.7 Violence in the Workplace Risk Assessment

Where there is a risk of workplace violence, a risk assessment will be conducted. It will be recorded in Step 2 of the Project Safety Assessment (PSA) with the other hazards associated with a project.

The following should be considered when determining if there is a significant risk of violence:

  • Working with the public.
  • Carrying out inspection or enforcement duties.
  • Providing service, care, advice or education.
  • Working alone, in small numbers or isolated low traffic areas.
  • Working in a community-based setting or a mobile workplace.
  • Entering private property.

Working during the following times can increase the risk of violence:

  • Late hours of the night or early hours of the morning.
  • Tax return season.
  • Christmas holidays or festive seasons.
  • Performance appraisals.
  • During disciplinary action.

If there is no risk of violence the PSA will state “No Significant Risk of Violence”. If there is a significant level of risk, controls will be implemented to minimize or eliminate the risk.