Each month, our Advocacy Committee answers your questions about the AD 10 policies (aka, your terms and conditions of employment.)

Angela VassHello, I’m Angela Vass, Member Services Coordinator for APSA. On behalf of the committee, I’m answering a question posed by an APEX member about a toxic workplace situation at SFU.

Questions? Submit them anonymously here. This question will be answered in a monthly advocacy corner issue. For an immediate answer, please contact us.

I'm currently navigating a very toxic workplace, and I'm thinking of filing a bullying and harassment complaint. My concern with doing so is that I'm currently an APEX member, and I know that there are fewer protections and less representation for me. What should I do? Can APSA help or give advice?

I am sorry to hear that you're experiencing toxic workplace issues—these are issues that no one should bear alone. From time to time, APEX members such as yourself do connect with us here in APSA for assistance. While we can't represent you or support you in the sense of drawing on our member-paid resources, we generally don't turn away anyone who comes to us for help and advice. We all work together, after all.

Most frequently for APEX members, who don't have any kind of association or union representation, we suggest that you seek advice and possible representation from a labour lawyer. A labour lawyer can help you navigate the terms and conditions of employment at SFU particular to APEX and particular to your situation. You may have, for example, a hiring letter that outlines certain conditions that may affect your employment: your lawyer should review this with you, as you consider your next steps.

Your lawyer can also help you review the particulars of your bullying and harassment complaint and advise you on the likelihood of success should you choose to pursue it. Your lawyer can also represent you during any investigation interviews. You should also familiarize yourself with the AD-9 policies as these govern many of the terms and conditions of employment for APEX members.

I also suggest that you connect with the Employee Family Assistance Program at SFU for confidential support. You can also consider the psychologist benefits that should be available to you through your Pacific Blue Cross benefits. We recommend both these supports to our members facing difficult work places.

If you would like to speak to anyone for further advice, please get in touch with the APSA office. While we can't offer you the full suite of our member-paid services and supports, we can offer you limited, confidential guidance.