Preventing Workplace Bullying and Harassment

There are four different major types of bullying: physical, verbal, cyber, and social such as exclusion or spreading rumours.


Preventing Workplace Bullying and Harassment

UBC’s Respectful Environment Statement provides guidance on the vision of creating an environment dedicated to excellence, equity and mutual respect that is free from bullying and harassment for students, faculty and staff.


What is workplace bullying & harassment?

Bullying and harassment includes any inappropriate conduct or comment by a person towards a worker that the person knew or reasonably ought to have known would cause the worker to be humiliated or intimidated but, excludes any reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment.

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What do faculty, staff and student employees need to know?

Orientation & Training Requirement

WorkSafeBC Regulatory Guideline G-D3-115(1-3) requires that all faculty & staff (including students employed by the University and practicum/clinical placement students) receive training about UBC bullying and harassment policies and how to recognize, prevent and address workplace bullying & harassment.

Register for the on-line Preventing and Addressing Workplace Bullying & Harassment training.

Reporting Procedure

  1. If you are a faculty or staff member (including students who are employed by the University):
    • If you feel comfortable doing so, calmly approach the alleged harasser and inform them that their behaviour is offensive and unwelcome, contrary to University policy, and insist that they stop immediately.
  1. If you are not comfortable approaching the alleged bully or if the unwelcome behavior continues:
    • Contact your immediate supervisor or the administrative head of your unit for support.
  1. If the employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser:
    • Contact your administrative head of unit, Union/Association representative, or your Human Resources Advisor for the Vancouver campus and the Director of HR for the Okanagan campus.
  1. If you observe one of your co-workers being bullied and harassed at work:
    • Report what you have observed to your immediate supervisor or the administrative head of your unit;
    • If your employer or supervisor is the alleged harasser, then report to your administrative head of unit, Union/Association representative or Human Resources Advisor for the Vancouver campus and the Director of HR for the Okanagan campus.

Note: It is good practice to keep a journal of each incident, noting the time, date, location, and a brief description. Try and be as accurate as possible. Also, be sure to note the names of those who directly observed each incident.

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What do supervisors need to know?

As a person who supervises, you are responsible for ensuring that those who report to you are working in an environment free from bullying and harassment. This includes observing behaviour that may be inappropriate or disrespectful and addressing it before it becomes a pattern.

You are also responsible for addressing any complaints of bullying or harassment that may come forward. Follow this procedure when you receive any complaint. You are encourage to contact your faculty relations advisor or your human resources advisor for guidance through the process.

  1. Supervisors or managers receiving a complaint should follow the following procedure:
    • Listen to the complainant and take the information presented seriously. Acknowledge the difficulties bringing such a complaint forward and be conscious of your body language and tone of voice.
    • If you are not at the management level, bring the complaint forward to your manager.
    • Investigations of complaints should be conducted at a management level with guidance from Human Resources or Faculty Relations.
    • Agree to treat the complaint with the utmost confidentiality to the extent possible. Reassure the complainant that retaliatory action for filing a complaint will not be tolerated.
    • Ask the complainant to describe what happened in detailed, chronological order. What led to the complaint? What behaviour does the complainant consider harassing or bullying? Did this behaviour occur more than once? Has this happened to anybody else? If the complaint was not filed right away, what were the reasons for delay? How has the behaviour affected you? What does resolution look like? Is there anything else I need to know?
    • Take careful notes and identify areas requiring further clarity. Ask the complainant to check your notes to ensure that they are accurate. In some cases, it may be advisable to have the complainant submit their complaint in writing.
    • Offer support resources information to the employee (Employee Family Assistance Plan).
    • Investigation lead must followup with affected employee regarding the investigation.
    • Corrective actions should be developed and implemented to prevent future incidents.

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