Bullying is typically understood to be actions or verbal statements that could isolate or psychologically harm a person at work. Bullying occasionally also includes harmful physical contact. Bullying typically entails a pattern of behavior or repeated instances meant to terrorize, offend, denigrate, or humiliate a specific person or group of people. Another way to put it is as the aggressive assertion of power.
Is bullying a problem at work?
Bullying does exist in the workplace. The idea of due diligence is covered under occupational health and safety rules in Canada. Employers are required to use due care by taking all necessary procedures to avoid workplace accidents or incidents given the specific conditions. Everybody should have access to a secure and healthy workplace. The obligations and responsibilities of workplace parties with regard to harassment and violence in the workplace, including formulating and putting into effect policies and programs, will be outlined in the legislation in your area. Bullying is frequently formally defined as harassment and violence, although it can also be inferred when it is not. For more information, please see the following OSH Answers documents: Occupational Bullying Internet abuse or harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment - Domestic (Family) Violence Legislation on Violence and Harassment at Work Dealing with Negative Interactions in the Face of Workplace Violence and Harassment Workplace Violence and Harassment Safety in Parking Lots Workplace Violence and Harassment: Warning Signs Working Late: Violence and Harassment in the Workplace
Which behaviors constitute bullying?
Bullying is a kind of hostility, although it can also take subtle or overt forms. The following should be understood to not be a checklist or to cover all instances of bullying. Nobody can be predicted as either the bully or the target. This list is presented to illustrate some of the ways that workplace bullying may take place. Additionally, keep in mind that while bullying is typically thought of as a pattern of behavior, one or more occurrences may be all it takes to prove that bullying is occurring, particularly if the incident has an impact that lasts. Examples comprise: maliciously circulating rumors, rumors, or innuendo. excluding or socially isolating someone. frightening someone. actively undermining or obstructing another person's job threats of abuse or physical harm. removing responsibilities without justification. job standards that are constantly evolving. setting unrealistic deadlines that will cause the person to fail. withholding important facts or deliberately providing false information. Making ""clearly inappropriate"" jokes verbally or via email. stalking, snooping, or other types of privacy invasion. assigning one individual with unfair responsibilities or a heavy job (in a way that creates unnecessary pressure). Underemployment breeds a sense of helplessness. yelling or using foul language. continually or relentlessly criticizing someone. insulting a person's viewpoints. Unjustified (or undeserving) discipline. denying requests for training, time off, or a promotion. tampering with a person's possessions or work tools. Use the ""reasonable person"" standard if you're unsure if a behavior or statement qualifies as bullying. Would the majority of people find the behavior unacceptable?
What could not be regarded as bullying?
It might be challenging to determine whether bullying is taking place at work. Bullying can be quite subtle, but once a pattern of behavior is formed, it may become more noticeable. Additionally, a lot of research agree that there is a """"thin line"""" between assertive management and bullying. Bullying rarely occurs when comments are impartial and meant to offer helpful criticism; instead, they are meant to help the employee with their work. WorkSafeBC defines bullying and harassing behavior as not including: expressing disagreements with one another. Offering constructive feedback, guidance, or advice about work related behaviour. Reasonable action taken by an employer or supervisor relating to the management and direction of workers or the place of employment (e.g., managing a worker's performance, taking reasonable disciplinary actions, assigning work). Prince Edward Island also adds that when done reasonably and fairly, the following actions are generally not considered workplace bullying or harassment: with good reason, changing work assignments and job duties; scheduling and workloads; inspecting the workplace; implementing health and safety measures; delivering work instructions; assessing and evaluating work performance; disciplinary actions; and/or any other reasonable and lawful exercise of a management function.
How can bullying affect an individual?
People who are the targets of bullying may experience a range of effects. These reactions include:Shock. Anger. Feelings of frustration and/or helplessness. Increased sense of vulnerability. Loss of confidence. Physical symptoms such as: Inability to sleep. Loss of appetite. Psychosomatic symptoms such as: Stomach pains. Headaches. Panic or anxiety, especially about going to work. Family tension and stress. Inability to concentrate. Low morale and productivity.
How can bullying affect the workplace?
Bullying affects the overall """"health"""" of an organization. An """"unhealthy"""" workplace can have many effects. In general, these effects include:Increased absenteeism. Increased turnover. Increased stress. Increased costs for employee assistance programs (EAPs), recruitment, etc. Increased risk for incidents. Decreased productivity and motivation. Decreased morale. Reduced corporate image and customer confidence. Poor customer service.
Are there any laws addressing bullying in the workplace in Canada?
Many jurisdictions have defined bullying separately or have included bullying as part of the definition of behaviours associated with harassment or violence. For example, Prince Edward Island has defined harassment in their Workplace Harassment Regulations as: (b) """"harassment"""" means any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture or any bullying that the person responsible for the conduct, comment, display, action or gesture or the bullying knows, or ought reasonably to know, could have a harmful effect on a worker's psychological or physical health or safety, and includes (i) conduct that is based on any personal characteristic such as, but not limited to, race, creed, religion, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin, gender identity or pregnancy, and (ii) inappropriate sexual conduct that is known, or ought reasonably to be known, to the person responsible for the conduct to be unwelcome, including, but not limited to, sexual solicitations or advances, sexually suggestive remarks, jokes or gestures, circulating or sharing inappropriate images, or unwanted physical contact. Other resources include in British Columbia, WorkSafeBC has developed policies and resources related specifically to workplace bullying and harassment. The Treasury Board of Canada has published “People to People Communication – Preventing and Resolving Harassment for a Healthy Workplace”. If there is no legislation which specifically addressed bullying, the general duty clause to provide a safe and healthy workplace establishes the duty of employers to protect employees from risks at work. These risks can include harm from both physical and psychological health aspects. In addition, federal and provincial human right laws prohibit harassment related to race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, marital status, family status, disability, pardoned conviction, or sexual orientation. In certain situations, these laws may apply to bullying.
What can you do if you think you are being bullied?
If you feel that you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized or subjected to any form of harassment:DOFirmly tell the person that his or her behaviour is not acceptable and ask them to stop. You can ask a person you trust, such as supervisor or union member to be with you when you approach the person. Keep a factual journal or diary of events. Record: The date, time and what happened in as much detail as possible. The names of witnesses. The outcome of the event. Remember, it is not just the character of the incidents, but intent of the behaviour and the number, frequency, and especially the pattern that can reveal the bullying or harassment. Keep copies of any letters, memos, e-mails, etc., received from the person. Report the bullying or harassment to the person identified in your workplace policy, your supervisor, or a delegated manager. If your concerns are minimized, proceed to the next level of management. DO NOTDo not retaliate. You may end up looking like the perpetrator and will most certainly cause confusion for those responsible for evaluating and responding to the situation. (Adapted from: Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide. CCOHS)
What can an employer do?
The most important component of any workplace prevention program is management commitment. Management commitment is best communicated in a written policy. Since bullying is a form of violence and harassment in the workplace, employers may wish to write a comprehensive policy that covers a range of incidents (from bullying and harassment to physical violence). A workplace violence and harassment prevention program should: Be developed by management and employee representatives. Apply to management, employee's, clients, independent contractors and anyone who has a relationship with your company. Define what you mean by workplace bullying (and harassment and violence) in precise, concrete language. Provide clear examples of unacceptable behaviour and working conditions. State in clear terms your organization's view toward workplace bullying and its commitment to the prevention of workplace bullying. Precisely state the consequences of making threats or committing acts. Outline the process by which preventive measures will be developed and implemented. Encourage reporting of all incidents of bullying or other forms of workplace harassment and violence. Outline the confidential process by which employees, including witnesses, can report incidents and to whom. Assure no reprisals will be made against employees who choose to report their experiences. Outline the procedures for investigating and resolving complaints. Maintain confidentiality during the resolution process. Describe how information about potential risks of bullying and violence will be communicated to employees. Make a commitment to provide support services to victims. Offer a confidential Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to allow employees with personal problems to seek help. Make a commitment to fulfill the prevention training needs of different levels of personnel within the organization. Make a commitment to monitor and regularly review the policy. State applicable regulatory requirements, where possible. (Adapted from: Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide. CCOHS)
What are some general tips for the workplace?
DOEncourage everyone at the workplace to act towards others in a respectful and professional manner.
Have a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.
Educate everyone that bullying is a serious matter.
Try to work out solutions before the situation gets serious or """"out of control"""".
Educate everyone about what is considered bullying, and whom they can go to for help.
Treat all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.
Train supervisors and managers in how to deal with complaints and potential situations. Encourage them to address situations promptly whether or not a formal complaint has been filed. Have an impartial third party help with the resolution, if necessary. DO NOTDo not ignore any potential problems. Do not delay resolution. Act as soon as possible. (Adapted from: Comprehensive Workplace Health Program Guide. CCOHS)"""