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NEWS RELEASE · 2nd June 2015
District of Kitimat
The District’s Harassment Policy – What is bullying and harassment?

Bullying and harassment includes “inappropriate conduct or comment 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.” Some examples of bullying/harassment include: verbal aggression or insults, calling someone derogatory names, personal attacks based on someone’s private life and/or personal traits, spreading malicious rumours and swearing.

The definitions and examples above are from the District of Kitimat’s Harassment Policy which was developed in consultation with Union members, the Kitimat Firefighter Association (members of the International Association of Firefighters) and exempt staff. The Policy states that it applies to all employees, Council Members, volunteers and members of the public. All employees, from the newest Casual employee to the Chief Administrative Officer, are entitled to a workplace free from bullying and harassment.

The Policy contains protection from human rights discrimination, that is, bullying or harassment relating to race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, family status, marital status, physical or mental disability. It also protects all employees from what is referred to as personal harassment or bullying. This includes behaviours which create an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

The Policy establishes a process for any worker to bring a confidential complaint about any person (Councillor, manager, co-worker, member of the public) who is believed to have discriminated against, harassed or bullied the employee/worker. The employee/worker can attempt informal solutions or ask for a formal investigation. In the case of a complaint by a Unifor member against another Unifor member, the investigator is selected by the District and Unifor. If the complaint is by a Unifor member against a staff employee, the investigator is selected by the District, Unifor and a representative of the staff group. In all cases, the investigation is conducted by an independent investigator.

Finally, nothing in the policy prevents employees from making a complaint to WorkSafe or to the Human Rights Tribunal of BC. There is no cost to file a complaint and there are advisors or Case Managers able to help workers register a complaint.

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