Harassment & Bullying
The purpose of this policy is to prevent workplace bullying and harassment to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all employees. Richco Contracting is committed to providing a safe and respectful work environment for all staff and customers. No one, whether a manager, an employee, a contractor or a member of the public, has to put up with bullying or harassment at Richco Contracting, for any reason, at any time. This policy is one step toward ensuring that our workplace is a comfortable place for all of us.
Bullying and harassment is not acceptable or tolerated in this workplace. All workers, contractors and customers will be treated in a fair and respectful manner.
2. Bullying and harassment:
a) Includes any inappropriate conduct or comment by a person towards a worker or customer that the person knew, or reasonably ought to have known, would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated, but
b) Excludes any reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment.
Intent does not determine whether the behaviour is bullying and harassment. A person cannot excuse behaviour by saying he or she did not intend it to be humiliating or intimidating. Examples of conduct or comments that might constitute bullying and harassment include verbal aggression or insults, derogatory names, harmful hazing or initiation practices, vandalizing personal belongings, and spreading malicious rumours.
3. Workers must:
Not engage in the bullying and harassment of other workers
Report if bullying and harassment is observed or experienced
Apply and comply with Richco Contracting policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.
This policy statement applies to all workers, including permanent, temporary, casual, contract, and student workers, and applies to interpersonal and electronic communications (such as email, text, social medias).
4. Annual review:
This policy statement will be reviewed every year. All workers will be provided with a copy or access to the policy and will be required to read and sign the policy.
Prevention of Bullying and Harassment
Bullying and harassment poses a potential risk to the physical and mental health and safety of workers, leading to lower productivity, physical illness, and increased risk of injury if someone is distracted while performing work tasks. These behaviours produce negative outcomes for everyone.
Bullying or harassment on the grounds of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, belief, disability or age will not be tolerated.
Note that situations, context and circumstances may vary. For example, yelling in the workplace may be acceptable sometimes (it may be appropriate for a foreman to yell to warn a fellow worker of a potential for danger); however, yelling that humiliates and intimidates is not acceptable. Bullying and harassment should not be confused with exercising managerial authority. Examples of reasonable management action include decisions related to job duties, workloads, deadlines, work instructions or feedback, evaluation and disciplinary actions.
Reasonable person being defined as:
"A person who exercises the degree of attention, knowledge, intelligence and judgement that society requires of its members for the protection of their own and of others’ interests. The reasonable person acts sensibly, does things without serious delay, and takes proper but not excessive precautions."
Richco Contracting is committed to providing employees with a comprehensive program which will identify reasonable steps to prevent, or otherwise minimize, workplace bullying and harassment. This means if Richco Contracting is aware of circumstances that present a risk of workplace bullying and harassment, preventative measures will be put in place.
These measures may include providing direction and supervision to affected workers, offering training on how to manage difficult situations, or imposing workplace arrangements to minimize the risks of bullying and harassment.
Richco Contracting must ensure the health and safety of its workers and any other workers present at the workplace, and must provide workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure work is performed safely. In order to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace, Richco Contracting has developed a bullying and harassment policy, reporting procedures, and procedures for dealing with incidents or complaints.
Richco Contracting will treat all incidents of harassment seriously and will act on all complaints to ensure that they are resolved quickly, confidentially, and fairly.
Workers and supervisors have legal obligations to prevent and address bullying and harassment in the workplace as follows:
Supervisors must ensure the health and safety of all workers under their direct supervision (section 117 of the Workers’ Compensation Act). This includes:
not engaging in the bullying and harassment of others
applying and complying with the employer’s policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.
Supervisors are responsible for fostering a safe working environment, free of bullying and harassment. Supervisors must set an example for appropriate workplace behaviour, and must deal with situations of bullying and harassment immediately upon becoming aware of them, whether or not there has been a complaint. Courts may impose penalties on the employer and/or supervisor, even if neither of them was actually involved in or aware of the bullying or harassment, but should have known about it. A supervisor that does not do anything to prevent bullying and harassment, or to mitigate its effects, may find him or herself facing financial and legal consequences.
Workers must take reasonable steps to protect his or her own health and safety as well as the health and safety of others (section 116 of the Workers’ Compensation Act). This includes:
not engaging in the bullying or harassment of others
reporting any bullying or harassing behaviours they experience or observe in the workplace
applying and complying with the employer’s policies and procedures
co-operating with investigators
Procedures for reporting incidents and complaints
Workplace bullying and harassment should be reported as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing an incident, which in turn will enable the supervisors/management at Richco Contracting to investigate and address the situation immediately.
How to report
Workers at Richco Contracting can report incidents or complaints of workplace bullying and harassment verbally or in writing. When submitting a written complaint, please use the workplace bullying and harassment complaint form. When reporting verbally, the reporting contact, along with the complainant, will fill out the complaint form.
When to report
Incidents or complaints should be reported as soon as possible after experiencing or witnessing an incident. This allows the incident to be investigated and addressed promptly.
Report any incidents or complaints to your immediate Supervisor, Superintendent and/or Health & Safety Coordinator. For example, workers would report to their on-site Supervisor,who would report to the Superintendent and Health & Safety Coordinator, and then to the President.
Alternate reporting contact
If the employer, the complainant’s Supervisor, or the reporting contact named above is the person engaging in bullying and harassing behaviour, workers may contact another Supervisor, Superintendent, Health and Safety Coordinator, to the President, or a union representative. Should none of these contacts work for the complainant, a worker may contact the WorkSafe BC prevention information line.
What to include in a report
Provide as much information as possible in the report, such as the names of people involved, witnesses, where the events occurred, when they occurred, and what behaviour and/or words led to the complaint. Attach any supporting documents, such as emails, handwritten notes, or photographs. Physical evidence, such as vandalized personal belongings, can also be submitted.
How and when investigations will be conducted
Most investigations at Richco Contracting will be conducted internally; however, in complex or sensitive situations, an external investigator may be hired.
• be undertaken promptly and diligently, and will be as thorough as possible.
• be fair and impartial, providing both the complainant and respondent equal treatment in evaluating the allegations.
• be sensitive to the interests of all parties involved, maintaining confidentiality.
• be focused on finding facts and evidence through interviews including the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses.
• incorporate, where appropriate, any need or request from the complainant or respondent for assistance during the investigation process.
What will be included
Investigations will include interviews with the alleged complainant, the alleged respondent and any witnesses. If the alleged target and the alleged bully agree on what happened, then Richco Contracting will not investigate any further, and will determine what corrective action to take, if necessary.
The investigator will also review any evidence, such as emails, handwritten notes, photographs, or physical evidence like vandalized objects.
Roles and responsibilities
Richco Contracting is responsible for ensuring workplace investigation procedures are followed.
Workers are expected to cooperate with investigators and provide any details of incidents they have experienced or witnessed.
Richco Contracting Management or Supervisor will conduct investigations and provide a written report with conclusions to Richco Contracting Administration.
If external investigators are hired, they will conduct investigations and provide a written report with conclusions to Richco Management or Supervisors.
The alleged respondent and alleged complainant will be advised by the investigator of the investigation findings following a deliberation of facts. An action plan will be made available to the complainant and respondent to demonstrate how the problem is to be resolved.
Richco Contracting will then review and revise workplace procedures to reflect the investigation and prevent any future bullying and harassment incidents in the workplace. Appropriate corrective actions will be taken within a reasonable time frame.
In appropriate circumstances, workers may be referred to the employee assistance program or be encouraged to seek medical advice.
Richco Contracting expects that workers will keep written accounts of incidents to submit with any complaints. Richco Contracting will keep a written record of investigations, including the outcome of findings.
These procedures will be reviewed annually. All workers will be provided with a copy as they are hired, and copies will also be readily available in the Richco Contracting Safety Manual and Online on the website.