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 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, for example employee and family assistance providers or Worksafe BC resources.

At Work

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

Risk Identification

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. 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

Supervisor or Manager Role

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

This chart can also be downloaded.