Working Together to Prevent Bullying and Harassment
At UBC, we strive to provide a safe, respectful and productive work environment for our faculty, staff and student employees. The Respectful Environment Statement sets out the expectations of everyone who is a member of the UBC community in this regard.
Bullying or harassment are behaviours that prevent us from the kind of respectful and productive environment envisioned in the Respectful Environment Statement. Bullying or harassment are not acceptable and will not be tolerated at UBC.
This website provides information for UBC faculty, staff and student employees on how to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace; how to handle and report bullying and harassment; and how to support a respectful environment in the workplace.
Please note that the Respectful Environment Statement is currently being revised to include more specific language related to bullying and harassment.
Defining Bullying & Harassment
Bullying or harassment is objectionable and unwanted behaviour that is verbally or physically abusive, vexatious or hostile, that is without reasonable justification, and that creates a hostile or intimidating environment for working, learning or living. To learn more about the definition of bullying and harassment, click here.
Harassment can also be discriminatory in nature (e.g. harassment is based on someone’s race or gender or religion). At UBC we distinguish discriminatory harassment from bullying or harassment that is not discriminatory based on the protected grounds in the BC Human Rights Code. If you feel you have been discriminated against, it is important for you to raise your concerns as soon as possible. Policy #3 sets out a process for dealing with such harassment and you are encouraged to bring this forward to your immediate supervisor or the administrative head of your unit as soon as possible. You can also speak to your human resources advisor or your union or association representative.
Learn more about the differences between these types of harassment and how UBC has policies to protect faculty, staff and students.
Information for Faculty, Staff & Student Employees
If you feel you have been bullied or harassed at work, it is important to report the offending behavior as outlined in the following section. If the behaviour is of a discriminatory nature, related to one of the 13 protected grounds under Human Rights legislation, please contact the Equity and Inclusion office.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Information for Supervisors
As a person with responsibility for faculty, staff (including students employed by the University) you are responsible for ensuring 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. We encourage you to follow this procedure when you receive any such complaint. We also encourage you to contact your faculty relations advisor or your human resources advisor for guidance through the process.
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.
- 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.
Discuss next steps:
- If no investigation is requested or required, maintain confidentiality but forward all notes to your immediate supervisor or administrative head of unit.
- If an investigation is requested or is considered appropriate, contact your Human Resources Advisor for the Vancouver campus and the Director of HR for the Okanagan campus for guidance through such an investigation
Explore UBC policy documents, videos and fact sheets regarding workplace bullying and harassment.