WorkSafeBC investigating West Vancouver police conduct
WorkSafeBC investigating police department's compliance with new bullying, harassment policies
WorkSafeBC says it will be launching an investigation into the conduct of the West Vancouver Police Department.
A recent employee survey showed the department is plagued by low employee morale and high criticism of its leadership. On Monday, former West Vancouver police chief Kash Heed told reporters he still hears officers talking about bullying, racism and sexual harassment within the department.
Those allegations have prompted WorkSafeBC to look into whether the WVPD is following workplace conduct policies.
"Our officers will be attending to conduct an inspection and to determine the level of compliance with the new bullying and harassment polices that came into effect in November," said WorkSafeBC spokesperson Megan Johnston.
Johnston said all workplaces are required to have written conduct policies in place and a means for workers to register complaints.
"If our officers determine there is noncompliance with the policies, they would be writing orders," said Johnston.
'Harassment is not acceptable,' says WVPD
On Monday, shortly after Heed made his criticisms of the WVPD public, current police chief Peter Lepine announced his retirement. Lepine said his retirement was planned and had nothing to do with Heed's comments.
Lepine defended his department, saying "harassment in the workplace is not tolerated under any circumstances" and that he deals with it expeditiously and effectively. He also said officers have not come to him expressing concern.
On Wednesday, WVPD spokesperson Cst. Jeff Palmer said the department welcomes the WorkSafeBC investigation.
"We do have clear policies around workplace harassment. They are posted publicly on our external public website. They are also posted internally on our intranet for staff to view," said Palmer.
"As chief Lepine mentioned in his statement on Monday, workplace harassment is not acceptable to him and it's not acceptable to the department. And he has and continues to encourage any employee who feels they've been victimized to bring their concerns forward through the available channels."
WorkSafeBC did not say when or how long its investigation would take place.
With files from the CBC's Terry Donnelly