Building a Respectful Workplace – A Look at Bullying and Harassment

November 9, 2020 Bren de LeeuwBC Lower Mainland 380 Views

EMC BC: Virtual Networking Event Summary

This special EMC BC Manufacturers Event looked at building awareness around Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace.  The impact on the health and well-being of victims can be long term and have a tremendous effect on their ability to perform or function within their roles or remain engaged as they once were.  Without properly addressing instances, Plant culture can erode and talent retention and subsequent attraction become that much more difficult.

Our quote of the day tied directly into our theme of building respectful workplaces and mitigating bullying and harassment instances:


Regardless of our role or position, it is everyone’s responsibility to build a respectful workplace where all employees are treated with respect and dignity. 

We were pleased to welcome Amenda Kumar, Occupational Health and Safety Consultant for Mental Health Injury Prevention in Consultation and Education Services from WorkSafe BC, who provided insight, examples, and reviewed readily accessible resources available on this topic!

Amenda began her presentation by engaging everyone with an interesting scenario and invited participants to vote on whether the actions could be determined as respectful or disrespectful.  Most voted on the respectful side and we enjoyed some discussion on that piece.

A second poll queried whether there was any difference between bullying and harassment.  Interestingly enough, there was a 50/50 split.  Amenda confirmed that in legislation, these are viewed as a single term – and are one and the same.

With that, she shared a detailed overview of the Bullying and Harassment Experience addressing what workplace harassment and bullying look like, how it ties into the Act, how to develop and sustain respectful workplaces, key resources and underscored that this is everyone’s responsibility.  Key elements of her presentation and discussion follows below:

What is workplace bullying?


  • Workers Compensation Act
  • WorkSafe BC Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Policies

Bullying vs. Harassment

  • What is Workplace Bullying and Harassment?
  • Intent does not determine bullying and harassment
  • Each situation has to be considered for content
  • Can come from anyone
  • What is not?
  • Reasonable Management action when taken in a respectful manner


Have a ripple effect and might result in:

  • Health and Safety Issues
  • Distracting someone who is performing dangerous tasks
  • Physical and/or psychological injury
  • Lower productivity
  • Lower morale
  • Higher absenteeism
  • Staff turnover – targets of bullying and harassment



  • Policy Statement
  • Reporting Procedures and Investigation
  • Education and Training
  • Annual Reviews


  • To not engage in bullying and harassment
  • Report instances
  • Apply and comply with procedures in this regard


  • To not engage in bullying and harassment
  • Apply and comply with procedures in this regard

WorkSafe BC’s Role

  • Ensure Workers and Employers follow procedures
  • May involve an investigation and determination

Perspectives – how do they feel?

  • Worker
  • Employer
  • Officer’s – what do they want employers to do?
  • Prevent and minimize bullying and harassment
  • Have documentation
  • Have police and procedures (for reporting, investigating and responding)
  • Train and inform workers
  • Investigate in accordance with procedures
  • Follow-up and close cases
  • Have clear workplace/job role expectations
  • Manage performance reasonably/appropriately

Building a Healthy Workplace Culture

  • Physical and Mental Health

Employers Support Mental Health

  • Social support is the #1 predictor of mental health in the workplace
  • Establishing supportive programs in the workplace can improve the culture
  • Employee and Family Assistance Program
  • Peer Support Team
  • Extended Health Benefits Provider (for Mental Health Benefits)
  • Mentorship or Collegial Connection
  • Spiritual Support – Chaplain, First Nations Elder, Community Members
  • WorkSafe BC – CIR, Social Work/Outreach Services

Support and Resources

  • heretohelp -Strategies to help you take care of your mental health and learn how to support a loved one -
  • MoodFX—This tool includes online and self-guided resources to help people manage anxiety and mood difficulties -
  • Canadian Mental Health Association-
  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention Centre of BC —This crisis line provides 24-7 support if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide -
    DIAL:  1.800.SUICIDE
  • Red Book Online —Provides information and referrals to community, government, and social services in BC - – DIAL:  2-1-1

If you are interested in learning more about what your organization can do to foster a respectful workplace and to build and develop policies and procedures around bullying and harassment, feel free to reach out to Amenda or visit for additional resources, guides, templates and so forth. 

Amenda Kumar, MSW, RSW

Occupational Health & Safety Consultant

OHS Consultation & Education Services

T: 604.276.5140 | C: 604.328.1528 | F: 604.214.5499


6951 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC

Very special thanks to Amenda Kumar of WorkSafe BC for sharing such an insightful presentation and key resources that can assist companies in preventing bullying and harassment in their businesses and assisting Workers as necessary in an effort to build respectful workplaces everywhere!

And, on behalf of EMC – very special thanks to all of our participants for taking the time out of your busy day to join in on this VERY IMPORTANT virtual presentation and discussion! 

All the best as always!

Bren de Leeuw

Western Canada Operations and
Vice President – Community Partnerships & Stakeholder Relations
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium - - 519-372-6009