Addressing domestic violence in the BC Public Service

Last updated: May 10, 2021

Sections 4.27 to 4.31 of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation cover violence in the workplace. The regulation requires employers to complete a risk assessment where there is a risk to workers from violence arising outside 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 must tell employees about people they are likely to encounter in the course of their work who have a history of violent behaviour.

At home

If a worker is experiencing domestic violence at home, managers should connect them with helpful resources such as employee and family assistance providers or Worksafe BC.

At work

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

Some examples of the ways domestic violence can threaten to enter the workplace 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. They must:

  • Assess the risk
  • Eliminate or minimize the risk
  • Put appropriate policies, procedures and work environment arrangements in place to prevent or minimize the risk of violence to workers
  • Instruct employees about the hazards while respecting the employee’s right to confidentiality
  • Appropriately respond to any incidents

The role of supervisors or managers

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

Procedures for reporting a threat of domestic violence

Procedures for reporting a threat of domestic violence

The above chart is also available as a downloadable PDF: