WorkSafeBC told to investigate allegation of ‘culturally unsafe’ workplace

The investigation of an allegedly culturally unsafe workplace will impact workers’ compensation boards across Canada.

According to WorkSafeBC, “the worker (in this case) accused her employer of fostering a culturally unsafe work environment which contributed to the deterioration of her mental health. While no racist comments were directed at her personally, (overhearing) microaggressions and cultural insensitivities caused her to develop PTSD”.

The worker said she felt devalued and degraded.

“It triggered the trauma I have due to my experiences with colonization and forced assimilation of Indigenous people”, she wrote.

In a statement, WorkSafeBC said it requires employers to take steps to counter racist or toxic workplaces. To this end, prevention officers responded to nearly 6,000 inquiries related to bullying and harassment last year alone.

Should the woman’s claim ultimately be rejected by WorkSafe, grounds remain to sue the former employer for negligent infliction of mental suffering.

Bottom line: the best course of action to preempt these unwanted scenarios is to develop, implement, and monitor policies that ensure a psychologically safe workplace.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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About Me

Ben Barfett, Principal and Consultant, has spent his life in the construction sector, specifically heavy civil, enviro, commercial, and energy. Having held senior roles in business development, technical advisory, and regional management, he earned his stripes in the field and in head office. Conscious of the interplay between commercial, legal, and execution aspects of construction, his business insights are informed by expertise in WCB policy and enhanced with disability-specific training. 

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Blue Collar Consulting

Blue Collar Consulting is a WCB and disability management firm. The company specializes in rapid and affordable disability solutions that advance current claims, contain the cost of future claims, and get injured workers back on their feet. 

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