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Bullying sends employee on leave from Richmond's transition house

Chimo board president said privacy and other legislation prevents the society from commenting on WorkSafeBC claims.

A Richmond transition house for women fleeing abuse was itself the site of bullying and harassment for one person who worked there, according to a WorkSafeBC claim.

The employee has been on leave since the summer.

Nova House, which is run by Chimo Community Services, has been at the centre of a WorkSafeBC claim for harassment and bullying that was approved last year.

According to WorkSafeBC, a worker is bullied or harassed when “someone takes an action that he or she knew or reasonably ought to have known would cause that worker to be humiliated or intimidated.”

Examples of bullying and harassment are “verbal aggression or insults, calling someone derogatory names, harmful hazing or initiation practices, vandalizing personal belongings, and spreading malicious rumours,” WorkSafeBC goes on to explain on its website.

Board president Joyce Alisharan told the Richmond News she couldn’t speak to the details of any claim, even if she knew details, due to privacy and other legal concerns. Further questions regarding the board’s procedures to address WorkSafeBC claims in general were not answered by press time.

The News also asked how an incident of harassment and bullying may impact Chimo as an organization, given it deals with vulnerable women often leaving situations where they have been harassed and bullied to the extreme.

Transition houses are set up for women and their children who are fleeing domestic abuse.

Chimo Community Services receives funding from the federal and provincial governments including BC Housing.

Richmond city council recently approved a $50,000 grant for Chimo. The organization also received more than $200,000 from various charitable organizations.