Bullying and Harassment

Bullying, Discrimination and Harassment 

Policy Statement

1. Workplace or PEA Event Conduct

Bullying, discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment, are not acceptable or tolerated in the PEA workplace or for any PEA organized event in any setting. All PEA workers, PEA members and outside stakeholders (e.g. volunteers, speakers, service providers and representatives for other organizations, etc.) will be treated in a fair and respectful manner. 

2. Bullying, discrimination and harassment, 

(a) Bullying and harassment include any inappropriate conduct or comment by a person towards a worker, member or stakeholder that the person knew or reasonably ought to have known would cause that person to be humiliated or intimidated, but excludes any reasonable action taken by the PEA as an employer relating to the management and direction of PEA staff.

(b) Sexual harassment means, any unwelcome conduct, comment, or gesture of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected to cause offense, embarrassment or humiliation. 

(c) Discrimination is an act, practice or behavior that has the effect of imposing burdens or disadvantages on one group of people that are not imposed on others. Discrimination can be on the basis of gender identity or expression, race, ethnicity, class, financial status, creed, sexual orientation, disability or different abilities, age or any other kind of discrimination prohibited by the BC Human Rights Code.
Examples of conduct or comments that might constitute bullying and harassment include verbal or non-verbal aggression or insults, calling someone derogatory names, harmful hazing or initiation practices, vandalizing personal belongings, and spreading malicious rumours.  

Examples of sexual harassment include: jokes, innuendo, comments or questions regarding someone’s body, appearance, sexual characteristics, sexuality or clothing or persistent unwelcome invitations.  

3. Workers or members must: 

  • not engage in the bullying, discrimination or harassment of others;
  • report to the PEA Executive Director, if bullying, discrimination and harassment is observed or experienced; 
  • apply and comply with the PEA’s policies and procedures on bullying, discrimination and harassment.

4. Application

This policy statement applies to all workers, including permanent, temporary, casual and contract. 

The policy applies to all members and outside stakeholders while participating in PEA business, including PEA committee members, delegates, elected representatives or participants in PEA-organized activities. It applies to interpersonal and electronic communications, such as email or social media. 

5. Annual review

This policy statement will be reviewed every year. All workers and members will be provided access to a copy.

PEA Procedures

The following procedures outline how the workers, members, outside stakeholders, management and Executive Committee members in the PEA will respond to reports or incidents of bullying, discrimination and harassment, including sexual harassment. 

The objectives for the procedures are to ensure a reasonable response to the report or incident and to address the incident and ensure that bullying and harassment is prevented in the future.
Workers and members are expected to cooperate with investigators and provide any details of acts of bullying or harassment they have experienced or witnessed.

1. Peer bullying, discrimination or harassment

If you witness or are the victim of bullying by a peer, in other words, someone with whom you are not in a reporting relationship, try to explain to the person how you perceive their actions and how their behaviour is impacting you. If this is not possible, talk to the PEA Executive Director immediately. The Executive Director is responsible for taking swift and appropriate action to follow up complaints brought to their attention.

2. Bullying discrimination or harassment of PEA staff by a supervisor, member or stakeholder

If a PEA staff member believes they have been bullied by their supervisor, member or a stakeholder, depending on the situation, some steps to follow are

  • Meet with your shop steward for advice and support;
  • Ask for a meeting with your supervisor (either with or without a shop steward), the member or stakeholder to discuss your concerns and why you believe you are being bullied; 
  • If a meeting with your supervisor, the member or external stakeholder is out of the question, go to the Executive Director, or if the incident involves the Executive Director, go to the Chair of the PEA Staff Relations Committee.  

3. Bullying discrimination or harassment of Members or external stakeholders while involved in union business 

If you believe you have been bullied, discriminated against or harassed by a stakeholder, member or PEA staff member while involved in union business, some steps to follow are:

  • Ask for a meeting with the stakeholder, member or PEA staff to discuss your concerns and why you believe you are being bullied; 
  • If a meeting with the stakeholder, member or PEA staff is out of the question, go to the PEA Executive Director or if the incident involves the Executive Director, then go to the Chair of the PEA Staff Relations Committee.  

4. Dealing with an allegation of bullying, discrimination or harassment

The Executive Director (or in the case of a complaint against the Executive Director, the Chair of Staff Relations Committee) shall take steps to review any complaints of bullying and harassment and follow through with appropriate action. Actions will be based on the circumstances and may include an informal investigation, voluntary mediation, or a formal investigation by either the Executive Director or Chair of the Staff Relations Committee or an external third party. Lead investigators will keep records of all related actions and the PEA will take action, including offering supports to workers, stakeholders and members as appropriate. All reasonable efforts will be made to conclude any investigations in a timely manner, and to respect confidentiality and privacy.

Created: June 17, 2019

In this section

The PEA was formed in 1974, by a group of professionals working in the public sector. The story goes that the founders of the union mortgaged their houses to fund negotiations of the union’s first collective agreement. 

Now, the PEA is BC’s union for professionals. We represent a wide range of professionals including lawyers, foresters, engineers, agrologists, teachers, veterinarians, fundraisers, physiotherapists, pharmacists, psychologists program managers, librarians and more.

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Since the 1970’s, when the PEA was formed, our mission has been to ensure our members can work in safe, productive environments and receive fair and reasonable wages and benefits for the valuable work they do. We help individuals and groups of professional workers to understand the challenges they face in their workplaces and some of the solutions available to them. 

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The PEA was formed in 1974 to represent licensed professionals in the BC Public Service. Since then the organization has grown to include a wide range of professionals from across BC. Find our more about our governance, staff and strategic direction.

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