Addressing Domestic Violence in the BC Public Service

Section 4.27 to 4.31 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation covers violence in the workplace and requires employers to complete a risk assessment where there is a risk to workers from violence arising out of their employment. This includes the spillover of domestic violence. The employer must also create policies and procedures to eliminate or minimize those risks and inform workers of the policies, procedures and risks in the workplace.

The employer has a duty to provide information related to the risk of violence from persons who have a history of violent behaviour and whom workers are likely to encounter in the course of their work.

Domestic violence is a workplace concern on two levels:

  1. If a worker is experiencing domestic violence at home, they should be referred to the appropriate resources to get help. This may be a referral to our employee and family assistance providers or Worksafe BC resources available to BC residents
  2. If there is a risk that the domestic violence is affecting the workplace, policies and procedures must be developed and followed to prevent or minimize the risk of violence to workers

Hazard Identification

The effects of domestic violence often extend outside the home. Domestic violence can enter the workplace in many ways.

Some examples include

  • Disruptive phone calls
  • Harassing emails or text messages
  • Inappropriate visits by the abuser, including stalking
  • Threats of harm to the victim’s co-workers
  • Physical violence in the workplace

If domestic violence threatens to enter the workplace, the employer must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation by

  • Assessing the risk
  • Eliminating or minimizing the risk
  • Putting appropriate policies, procedures and work environment arrangements in place
  • Instructing employees about the hazards while respecting the employee’s right to confidentiality
  • Appropriately responding to any incidents

Supervisor or Manager Role

Resources are available through AskMyHR if the issue of domestic violence is brought to your attention directly from an employee or if you have reason to believe an employee may be experiencing domestic violence. In addition to the flowchart below, the WorkSafeBC Domestic Violence in the Workplace Toolkit also provides more information.

Procedures for Reporting a Threat of Domestic Violence

Procedures for reporting a threat of domestic violence

This chart can also be downloaded as a PDF.