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Homewood Human Solutions | Bullying: Employer responsibilities | Homewood Health EAP EFAP Healthy Workplaces Blog

Are employees facing the schoolyard bully in your workplace?

A recent (2011) Career­Builder study shows that 27% of U.S. work­ers have felt bul­lied in the work­place with the major­ity not con­fronting or report­ing the bully. Addi­tion­ally: 11% of respon­dents say they felt bul­lied by a coworker, and 14% say they felt bul­lied by their imme­di­ate super­vi­sor. Another 7% say the bully was not their boss, but some­one higher up in the organization.

In Canada, employ­ers have a respon­si­bil­ity to take rea­son­able steps to pro­tect employ­ees from harm that may occur in the work­place. The gov­ern­ing laws vary by province and ter­ri­tory, but the require­ment is basi­cally the same across Canada— employ­ers are required to:

  • Rec­og­nize signs of vio­lence and harassment;
  • Assess poten­tial risks to employ­ees and other bystanders (e.g., clients, customers);
  • Estab­lish pro­ce­dures to con­trol these risks;
  • Edu­cate employ­ees, man­agers, super­vi­sors and key per­son­nel on these issues;
  • Respond appro­pri­ately and conᴀ­den­tially to issues (e.g., inci­dents, com­plaints) that are iden­tiᴀed; And,
  • Take rea­son­able action to resolve issues.

Pro­gres­sive provini­cial leg­is­la­tions are help­ing help­ing to change this pic­ture and requir­ing account­abil­ity from employ­ers to have poli­cies and train­ing in place that sup­port more respect­ful work­places (e.g. Bill 168 amend­ment to the Ontario Occu­pa­tional Health and Safety Act that came into effect June 15, 2010).

When work­place behav­iour is inap­pro­pri­ate and/or dis­repect­ful, do you know your responsibilities?
2. Home­wood Human Solu­tions e-learning course: Sup­port­ing Respect in the Work­place, 2011.
Note: Orig­i­nal pub­li­ca­tion date Feb 21, 2012.

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