navigating human rights legislation by TPenney

VIEWS: 769 PAGES: 85

									navigating human rights legislation, OH & S laws, and Criminal Code
provisions dealing with harassment, and will address the difficult issue of
identifying the appropriate forum, whether it be arbitration, the Human
Rights Tribunal, the Labour Board, or the courts. The workshop will focus
on such issues as:

  Detecting and identifying workplace bullying and harassment

  Investigative procedures, and disclosure of investigation reports

  The rights of the complainant and harasser, and the role of union

  Remedial actions (e.g. discipline, demotion, and reassignment of the

  Responding to the complainant: accommodation obligations and EAP

  Drafting an anti-harassment policy: preventive measures, training
  programs, disciplinary responses, medical/psychological assessments

  Employer liability for harassment by supervisors and co-workers
  (including punitive and aggravated damages)

Course tackles office bullying
By Alex Frazer-Harrison

We tend to think of bullies as tough kids in a schoolyard who pick on classmates. But bullying
also occurs in the office, in the warehouse, and in the boardroom.

For example, a manager might yell at an employee in front of his or her colleagues, or threaten
their job for no good reason, or shovel so much work on the person that it becomes impossible to
do satisfactory work.

As part of efforts to raise awareness about workplace bullying, Continuing Education is offering a
one-day Bullying in the Workplace seminar November 3 as part of its new Conflict Resolution
certificate program.

                                “ We talk about bullying in the schools all the time, and schools
                                are teaching kids that it‟s wrong,” says program director Alison
                                Toms (left). “But in the workplace it‟s a form of harassment, and
                                employers should be focused on creating a respectful workplace.”

                                Demand for the seminar is expected to be so high that it‟s open to
                                people who may not be taking other courses in the Conflict
                                Resolution program.

                                Bullying is not yet covered by the same legislation that protects
                                employees against sexual harassment or racial discrimination,
                                says Patricia Ferris, a PhD student in the Department of Industrial
                                Organizational Psychology, who has spent 10 years educating
businesses about workplace bullying. Research has shown that as many as 70 percent of
employees experience some form of “negative social behaviour.

“ In the past, the employee was told to change themselves or seek counselling,” she says. “It‟s
only recently that corporations are realizing they have to deal with this.”

The Conflict Resolution course, including the Bullying in the Workplace seminar, is offered in
partnership with the Centre for Conflict Resolution at the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

Kent Highnam, coordinator of customized training, will teach the seminar.
“ The seminar looks at exactly what is bullying,” says Highnam. “What are the behaviours? What
might be the motivations? We look at who the victims might be. What is the impact of bullying on

Highnam says being able to identify bullying is a major step in a company improving the
atmosphere of the workplace.

“ We don‟t want to beat up on managers or administration,” he says. “It‟s difficult to formulate a
response to something so insidious. Co-workers bully each other, and there can be bullying up
(against management).”

Toms says the seminar is open to anyone interested in creating healthy workplaces.

This was on CTV
Workplace Bullying

This is a huge problem in Canada. There needs to be a law protecting targets from this
type of physcological trauma.

Rose Balis
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 08-29-2006, 10:11 AM
evad54                                                                         Join Date: Feb 2005
Senior Member                                                                  Posts: 2,214

 Originally Posted by Rose Balis
 This is a huge problem in Canada. There needs to be a law protecting targets from
 this type of physcological trauma.

There is its called harassment.
Tom Selleck is Magnum not george gooney

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 08-29-2006, 01:55 PM
Cosmo                                                               Join Date: May 2005
Senior Member                                                       Posts: 118

Didn't W-5 go into this a bit in that one about sociopaths? That was W-5 wasn't it? I
sometimes get W-5 mixed up with the news journal show on the CBC, which is odd,
because they're so different in styles.

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 08-29-2006, 04:11 PM
                                                                      Join Date: Jul 2006
                                                                      Location: T-dot
Senior Member
                                                                      Posts: 137
  That's a great show idea.

Hi Rose Balis.

I fully agree that it is a huge problem in Canada. Not just workplace bullies, but also
workplace mobbing. Where a bully might be one or two individuals making your life
hell. Mobbing is a much more targeted campaign designed to drive you fully out of the
workplace. It's a horrible psychological attack that can leave the target scared for years
and unable to work. Many people end up suffering from PTSD. (Post Traumatic Stress

That would be a great show idea. There is actually a Canadian Professor of Sociology
University of Waterloo, Kenneth Westhues who has done extensive research on the
subject and they could contact him.

Hi evad54.

Maybe you know the answer to this. I understand that Quebec's law that passed a couple
of years ago makes them the only province in Canada to cover the psychological
harassment specifically that goes along with these types of workplace bullying.

When I wrote them to confirm this, here is what they pointed to. This is from the norm
de travail. It's a Quebec government website.

If this is the case, then should not the rest of Canada be upgrading their standards to
match. Not being a lawyer, it's my understanding that we do not have anything in the rest
of Canada to match or equal it. This law that they passed, similar to the ones in Europe
covers and is geared towards the psychological aspects of the harassment.

 Sect. 81.18 (IN FORCE ON JUNE 1, 2004)
 For the purposes of this Act, "psychological harassment" means any vexatious
 behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments,
 actions or gestures, that affects an employee's dignity or psychological or physical
 integrity and that results in a harmful work environment for the employee.
 A single serious incidence of such behaviour that has a lasting harmful effect on an
 employee may also constitute psychological harassment.
 "The employer is bound not only to allow the performance of the work agreed upon
 and to pay the remuneration fixed, but also to take any measures consistent with the
 nature of the work to protect the health, safety and dignity of the employee."
Sect. 81.19
Every employee has a right to a work environment free from psychological
Employers must take reasonable action to prevent psychological harassment and,
whenever they become aware of such behaviour, to put a stop to it.This responsibility
falls on the employer and not on the person presumed responsible for the
psychological harassment. It is the employer who has the responsibility of providing
his employees with fair and reasonable conditions of employment and of respecting
their health, safety, dignity and psychological and physical integrity.

Consequently, as soon as a harassment situation is brought to his knowledge, the
employer is under the obligation to take the appropriate steps and impose the
necessary sanctions to put a stop to such behaviour. This implies the existence and
implementation of a procedure that is known, effective and adapted to the reality of
each undertaking to permit the disclosure of cases of harassment and a rapid and
objective response.

In his capacity as the person having the prime responsibility for the organization of
work, only the employer can exercise the necessary authority to ensure a work
environment that is healthy and free from harassment.

The fact that the employer is unaware of a harassment situation cannot relieve him of
his responsibility. On the contrary, the employer's negligence or decision to turn a
blind eye to a harassment situation engages his responsibility.

Sect. 81.20
The provisions of sections 81.18, 81.19, 123.7, 123.15 and 123.16, with the necessary
modifications, are deemed to be an integral part of every collective agreement. An
employee covered by such an agreement must exercise the recourses provided for in
the agreement, insofar as any such recourse is available to employees under the
At any time before the case is taken under advisement, a joint application may be
made by the parties to such an agreement to the Minister for the appointment of a
person to act as a mediator.
The provisions referred to in the first paragraph are deemed to form part of the
conditions of employment of every employee appointed under the Public Service Act
(chapter F-3.1.1) who is not governed by a collective agreement. Such an employee
must exercise the applicable recourse before the Commission de la fonction publique
according to the rules of procedure established pursuant to that Act. The Commission
de la fonction publique exercises for that purpose the powers provided for in sections
123.15 and 123.16 of this Act.
The third paragraph also applies to the members and officers of bodies.

Sect. 123.6
 An employee who believes he has been the victim of psychological harassment may
 file a complaint in writing with the Commission. Such a complaint may also be filed
 by a non-profit organization dedicated to the defence of employees' rights on behalf of
 one or more employees who consent thereto in writing.

 Sect. 123.7
 Any complaint concerning psychological harassment must be filed within 90 days of
 the last incidence of the offending behaviour.

 Sect. 123.15
 If the Commission des relations du travail considers that the employee has been the
 victim of psychological harassment and that the employer has failed to fulfil the
 obligations imposed on employers under section 81.19, it may render any decision it
 believes fair and reasonable, taking into account all the circumstances of the matter,
 (1) ordering the employer to reinstate the employee;
 (2) ordering the employer to pay the employee an indemnity up to a maximum
 equivalent to wages lost;
 (3) ordering the employer to take reasonable action to put a stop to the harassment;
 (4) ordering the employer to pay punitive and moral damages to the employee;
 (5) ordering the employer to pay the employee an indemnity for loss of employment;
 (6) ordering the employer to pay for the psychological support needed by the
 employee for a reasonable period of time determined by the Commission;
 (7) ordering the modification of the disciplinary record of the employee.

Hi Cosmo.

I am not sure if they have covered this or not? Although corporate sociopaths would also
be another good topic idea. Maybe a series on the various workplace issues. From what
I have been reading and researching it's a huge problem in Canada. Where many
European nations have caught up with this, we are far more behind than we should be.
There are people that are becoming emotionally crippled do to workplace bullying, and
there are even people killing themselves about this.

I would love to see more focus given to this topic. They should also specifically focus on
how using the proper channels to get help for bullying and mobbing do not work. They
should also cover the fact that it is often the target who is blamed and made to look like
the problem.

A less well know aspect they should cover is the fact that harassers are often given
promotions to make them look like more credible employess vs the target they are going
Finally they could even cover the aspect of make a stink go see a shrink. How psychiatry
is being used against the workers who make complaints.

There are even better articles on this topic at Brian Martin's website suppression of

This is such a wide an varied topic they could we do more than 1 show and never cover
all the material, and since it does affect more and more people every year, I think people
would watch the episode(s).

Last edited by gangstalking : 08-29-2006 at 04:17 PM. Reason: grammer

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 08-30-2006, 12:23 AM
botswana                                                               Join Date: Oct 2005
Senior Member                                                          Posts: 660

 Originally Posted by Cosmo
 Didn't W-5 go into this a bit in that one about sociopaths? That was W-5 wasn't it? I
 sometimes get W-5 mixed up with the news journal show on the CBC, which is odd,
 because they're so different in styles.

W5 did a show about corporate psychopaths. 2 of my co-workers & I watched it (not
together) & we all thought the description sounded like a certain upper management type
at work.

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 08-30-2006, 08:41 AM
evad54                                                           Join Date: Feb 2005
Senior Member                                                    Posts: 2,214

Originally Posted by botswana
W5 did a show about corporate psychopaths. 2 of my co-workers & I watched it (not
together) & we all thought the description sounded like a certain upper management
type at work.

All senior managers are "psychopaths"
Tom Selleck is Magnum not george gooney

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 08-30-2006, 04:35 PM
                             Join Date: Dec 2005
CncrndCaine                  Location: New Minas, Kings County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Senior Member                Posts: 270

  Work Place Bullying-How To Prove-Impossible To Prove!
Ahhhhh now we are talking, but sadly nobody in Canada can proved Work Place
Harrassment nor Bullying. My case in particular is an example; it is expected that
the top of most work places. Whom do you think gets promoted? Ahhhhhh the bully-
harrassers inyourfacers of course, that is how most people get promoted to high

Unfortunately if you speakout about this to any management either higher or lower with
out backing you are reported by the harrasser to the bosses then to HRDC and then more
than likely WRONGFULLY DISMISSED. But of course there is a myrid of lawyers
defending most mediumsized and big business management from this "supposed
harrassment" yet the SCAB-4 MONTH Parttime workers that is hired so that the fulltime
workers can take their vacations, and come back to work 2-4 months later get the full
brunt of psychological torture.......from THE HIGHER EMPLOYEE OR MANAGER

W-5 had mentioned a while ago that my situation might make a good story, indeed, they
were the ones that had did an documentary on this subject; in Nova Scotia this form of
harrassment goes on too much in employment circles, in all sorts of businesses. Sadly no
one wants legislation because it would taint the Tory and NDP Unionist Workplaces,
when first time workers signup to their first nights or days on the signing the
workplace contract forms they sign clauses that allow this psychological torture to be
allowed to happen.........that is why this situation will never be dealt with by our own
HRDC in Ottawa, I waited from 1988 till 2000 with proof I had had this done to me,
however HRDC never wanted to deal with this problem and dumped me on Community
Services, they claimed the Statues Of Limitations had run out.             .

So tell me what sorts of laws that The Labour Standards Codes are supposed to be
protecting me against, First Time Workers are viewed as Scabs by Fulltime Workers, the
NDP and Tories have made a tradition of this in the workplace in Nova Scotia.........are
any of you going to go up against them if you have been WRONGFULLY

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 08-30-2006, 08:28 PM
botswana                                                Join Date: Oct 2005
Senior Member                                           Posts: 660

 Originally Posted by evad54
 All senior managers are "psychopaths"

HEE! I guess it's a prerequisite for the job!

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 08-30-2006, 08:49 PM
gerryduffett                                            Join Date: Apr 2005
Senior Member                                           Posts: 102

  Workplace Bullies

Workplace Bullies

Some information located here :

Gerry Duffett

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 08-30-2006, 09:36 PM
                               Join Date: Dec 2005
CncrndCaine                    Location: New Minas, Kings County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Senior Member                  Posts: 270

  Show Idea - Workplace Bullying

 Originally Posted by botswana
 HEE! I guess it's a prerequisite for the job!

Yessss botswana, sometimes it is; what is supposed to be for the First Time Working
SCAB-BOTTOMFEEDER......NEWBIE***KISSER his or her prequisits for signing
their contracts without having to read what they are siging? And this is to work the first
night on the job at what ever business they put in an application for?

gangstalking, I read some of your links, especially the one that the university professor
researched. They almost are all the psychological tortures that I faced working at the
Oxford Frozen Foods Plant in Hilton NS. Had I not been through the same thing in 1988
and had to face this again in 1990 then I could not have lasted a week there. I had lasted
3 months there before the company was taken over by Oxford Foods and had another 3
months there in 1992; I was not some stugie after that. It was in August of 1988 that the
final report evaluation of my psychological assessment was reviewed and HRDC
Kentville, Kings County NS, chose to do nothing about it and only got me a few
interviews with employers that never lead me to an full time job.

I had to find all my jobs myself, my job councilor was proud I had found my own
jobs.........that was untill 1993 when I found him at an Liberal Nomination Convention
where he was in a conflict of interest in supporting my former employers in their efforts
to elect an MLA in the NS Election, inwhich afterward would have seen this corrupt
political offical rubber stamping monies to my former employers's
proof of it in an psychological accessment that I was forced to do by my former job
councilor at HRDC.

Tell me, gangstalker and others here; is this how the HRDC of Canada is supposed to
act, letting their employees have conflicts of interests, supporting employers that
wrongfully dismiss employees that have been only standing up for themselves and
speaking out for themselves against unfair lower management?
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                                            W-FIVE                                  Go

“Bullybusters” to speak at Victoria harassment
by Valerie Shore

Mention the word ―bully‖ and most of us think back to childhood and that jerk who
liked to push other kids around in the schoolyard.

But as Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie will tell you, bullies aren’t confined to
schoolyards. They’re in the workplace, too, intimidating, humiliating, abusing,
threatening and even assaulting their co-workers. In fact, a new study has shown
that bullying in the workplace is more common than sexual harassment and racial

“Workplace bullies are driven by
a need to control and are threatened Bullying affects up to one in six
by strong, capable people.”          employees, according to the
                                            Campaign Against Workplace
Bullying, a U.S. advocacy and education organization founded and run by the
Namies. It’s a problem on the rise everywhere, including Canada, says Gary

―It’s happening because businesses and organizations are using the mantra of
global competitiveness to make productivity their number one goal,‖ he
says.―When managers are told to squeeze more productivity out of fewer people
without regard to the human consequences, that sets the stage for bullying.‖

Universities in particular are fertile ground for bullies, says Namie, because they
use ―the most antiquated‖ model of management — command and control. ―It
seems so unthinkable,‖ he says, ―because it’s such a violation of the mission and
values of an educational institution, which is supposed to be about enlightenment,
best practices and tolerance.‖

Namie, a social psychologist, and wife Ruth, a psychotherapist, will bring their
―bullybusting‖ message to Victoria Nov. 1-3 when they address the annual
conference of the Canadian Association Against Harassment in Higher Education
(CAASHHE), hosted by UVic. More than 130 university, college, government and
corporate advisors on human rights, harassment and discrimination are expected to
attend the event, which takes place in the Victoria Conference Centre.

The Namies — authors of the books The Bully at Work and Bullyproof Yourself at
Work, and popular lecturers on the topic — will present research on the extent of
bullying in the workplace and its consequences, give an overview of anti-bullying
efforts worldwide, and discuss organizational solutions.

The topic is very timely, says Susan Shaw, director of UVic’s office for prevention
of discrimination and harassment, and president of CAASHHE. ―Universities and
colleges with policies that include personal harassment are currently struggling
with definitions, how to best deal with a complaint and how to improve the work
environment so that bullying behaviour is unacceptable.‖

The Namies define workplace bullying as ―the deliberate, repeated, hurtful
mistreatment‖ of another person. Their research shows that the vast majority of
bullies (81 per cent) are bosses, some are peers (14 per cent) and a few bully up the
ladder. A bully is just as likely to be a man or a woman, but when a target is
female, 84 per cent of the time her bully is also a female.

―Workplace bullies are driven by a need to control and are threatened by strong,
capable people,‖ explains Namie. The top three reasons for being singled out by a
bully, he says, are refusal to be subservient, competence, and social skill (being
liked by others).
Typically, bullies use ridicule, unjust criticism and fault-finding in front of others
to try to isolate and exclude their target. The victims, says Namie, may suffer
everything from anxiety and depression to sleep disruption and post-traumatic
stress disorders. They waste much of their time at work defending themselves,
thinking about the situation or networking for support. Many are eventually fired,
others quit or go on wage-reduced disability leave.

For the employer, bullying results in reduced productivity, lost efficiency,
absenteeism, high staff turnover and hefty severance packages and lawsuits, as well
as potential violence. In 1999, a former transit employee in Ottawa — the victim of
repeated workplace harassment — shot four employees dead and then took his own

To put workplace bullies out of business, says Namie, individuals must stand up
for themselves, society must push for legal reform, and employers must
acknowledge the problem and develop broader harassment policies to protect their
employees. ―With or without the law, employers can deliberately prohibit bullying
and send the message that this behaviour will no longer be tolerated.‖
A good site

bullying harms
both employees
and employers
                        Susan has been feeling de-motivated and under appreciated at work
                        since, for reasons as yet unexplained, her boss took away several of
                        her duties. She wonders if her sudden loss of responsibility is related
                        to her refusal to make her boss coffee and pick up his dry cleaning.
                        Debbie was surprised how much she was shaking; that customer had
                        really unnerved her. She knew she had provided the best service
                        possible but nothing reasonable was going to make him happy. He
                        didn‟t need to hurl profanities and tell her she didn‟t know what she
                        was doing. She wondered if she should tell her boss. Meanwhile, John
                        has been seeking psychological help, unbeknownst to any of his
                        colleagues. He wonders why he has become so stressed and sleep-
                        deprived. Surely, he thinks, it can‟t all be because of the coworker
                        who sits in the next workstation, who seems determined to insult and
                        ridicule him and judge his every move.

                        These are snapshots of workplaces where bullying - a common
                        problem that has only been recognized in recent years - is having a
                        negative impact on individual employees and their organizations.
                        Fortunately, there are positive, proactive steps that can be taken by
                        management and employees to reduce the potential for or eliminate
                        workplace bullying. If Susan, Debbie or John worked in an
                        organization that had a policy against workplace bullying, they would
                        have a clear understanding of what behaviours are considered as
                        “bullying” and would know what resources were available to help
them resolve the problems they are having.

According to a July 2004 report by The European Foundation for the
Improvement of Living and Working Conditions on “Violence, bullying
and harassment in the workplace,” there has been an increase in
reported incidents of bullying. Twelve million people, representing
nine percent of workers in Europe, say they have been subject to
bullying over a 12-month period in 2000. The foundation and its
partners see this as a serious concern.

What is bullying?

Bullying is a term often used to describe any aggressive misuse or
abuse of power. Not to be confused with mere differences of opinion
or ordinary conflicts, bullying comprises anything that a reasonable
person would consider as victimizing, humiliating, intimidating,
undermining or threatening. It can range from gossip and rumours to
unwarranted punishment, and from obviously offensive jokes to
yelling or profanity.

The consequences are more costly to individuals and organizations
than once believed. The victims of bullying can experience stress,
depression, reduced self-esteem, self-blame, phobias, sleep
disturbances, digestive and musculoskeletal problems, or even post-
traumatic stress disorder. The problem, if not dealt with, may cause
social isolation, family problems, and financial problems due to
absence or discharge from work. Bullying also affects the
organization, by increasing absenteeism and staff turnover, reducing
productivity, and overall upsetting the peace.

What can be done?

Until very recently Canadian legislation did not specifically address
workplace bullying. However, Quebec has introduced legislation to
prevent and respond to psychological harassment, including bullying,
in the workplace. In other Canadian jurisdictions, the principles
outlined in occupational health and safety legislation clearly state that
employers have a general duty to protect employees from risks at
work, both physical and mental. Some Canadian jurisdictions (British
Columbia and Saskatchewan) have enacted specific workplace
violence prevention regulations, which may include workplace
bullying. Alberta has established a code and Nova Scotia has
guidelines on workplace violence prevention.

Organizations can help prevent workplace bullying by stating their
commitment to a healthy work culture in a written policy, with clear
guidelines of what behaviours are considered unacceptable; by
developing an organizational culture with standards and values
against bullying; and by dealing with incidents promptly, consistently
and with authority.

If you think you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized or
otherwise harassed at work, the Canadian Centre for Occupational
Health and Safety (CCOHS) advises that you NOT retaliate, but firmly
tell the bully that the behaviour is unacceptable and must stop. Keep
a factual journal of events, including names and dates. Keep
                       documentation (including e-mails and memos) that shows the
                       number, the frequency, and especially the pattern of incidents. Report
                       the bullying to your supervisor or the person in your organization
                       responsible for investigating and addressing incidents of workplace
                       bullying. If you feel your health is being affected, seek medical
                       assistance and/or make use of your company's Employee Assistance

                         A Workplace Hazard Like Any Other
                                By Maureen Shaw

Violence in Ontario’s workplace is on the rise. In 2004, Ontario’s Workplace Safety and
Insurance Board received 2,089 claims for lost-time injuries that resulted from assaults
and violent acts. That’s up from 1,926 claims in 2003 and 1,747 in 2002.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) defines workplace violence as, "any
incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to
their work." This definition covers all forms of harassment, bullying, intimidation,
physical threats/assaults, robbery and ―other intrusive behaviours.‖

Outside Sources
It’s easier for employers to deal with outside sources of violence that may involve clients
verbally or physically assaulting an employee, an intruder in the staff parking lot,
incidents involving contractors or estranged family members involved in domestic

Specific controls are relatively simple: improve building security, control visitor access,
improve natural surveillance so employees can observe interactions with outside sources,
make use of electronic devices and surveillance to discourage violent behaviour, and
improve parking lot design.

Inside Sources
Dealing with inside sources is not so easy. They arise out of disputes between co-
workers, supervisors or managers. In most cases, the physical violence is preceded by a
verbal conflict that escalates. Triggers are all by-products of an unhealthy workplace:
absenteeism, illness, internal politics, bad decision-making, indifference and apathy, and
lack of motivation or creativity.

The two primary forms of violence are bullying and harassment, which are not as easy to
recognize, assess, and control.

Canadian workplace statistics on bullying and harassment are hard to come by. Incidents
often go unreported and documented cases aren’t formally tracked. Statistics that are
available paint an alarming picture. According to the results of a 2000 survey of
Canadian labour unions, more than 75% of respondents reported incidents of bullying
and harassment. A North American study found that one in five employees had been a
victim of bullying. Furthermore, a 2002 Public Service of Canada study reported 21% of
employees were victims of workplace harassment over a two-year period.

Bullies and harassers of both sexes materialize. They’re found in supervisory roles and at
peer levels, operating singly or in groups and they target anyone. Victims are subjected
to: requests of a verbal or physical nature that are inappropriate; behaviour intended to
intimidate, offend, degrade and humiliate such as name-calling, fault-finding, false
accusations and trivial criticisms; and isolation through attempts to undermine their
position, status, work, value and potential in the workplace.

Being proactive
In many instances, the victim tolerates the abuse, being fearful of retaliation and
believing nothing can be done or hoping the situation will eventually resolve itself. This
leads to low productivity, absenteeism, high staff turnover, severance packages and
lawsuits, and in some cases, a physically violent and tragic outcome.

Most employers tend to be reactive when dealing with these issues. They should be
proactive and creating a respectful workplace policy is a good first step. It outlines how
the employer views workplace violence and how a respectful workplace will be enforced.
Equally important is employee training on how to recognize the symptoms of violence in
the workplace. Providing a resolution process that allows employees to comfortably
report situations is key.

This is a safety problem. It’s a hazard for every company, and it needs to be recognized,
assessed, and controlled. Find out more about how to prevent violence in the workplace
by reading Violence in the Workplace: A Prevention Guide by the Canadian Centre for
Occupational Health & Safety, and Human Resources Guide to Preventing Workplace
Violence by Norman Keith. Visit

Maureen Shaw is President and CEO of IAPA. This article appeared in Plant, Canada’s
industry newspaper, on July 17, 2006.

Additional Resources

IAPA has many resources to help you learn more about workplace violence:


       Creating a Healthy Workplace
       Psychosocial Risk Management
       Controlling Violence in the Workplace Video-Based Training

Free downloads

       Creating Healthy Workplaces
        Healthy Workplaces: What? Why? How?
        The Leadership Factor
        Mental Health at Work ... From Defining to Solving the Problem
        Psychosocial Risk Management: What Every Business Manager Should Know
        The Psychosocial Side of RSIs
        Stress at Work - Taking Control
        Understanding Stress at Work
        Work-Life Balance: A Strategic Business Issue!
        Work Organisation and Stress

Harassment and Bullying - What is Covered
Harassment under Human Rights Law Harassment can range from unwelcome comments and offensive
jokes or pictures, to unwelcome physical contact and assault. Most human rights laws, including the PEI
Human Rights Act, only cover harassment if the unwelcome behaviour can be linked to a prohibited ground
of discrimination. The most common form of harassment that is covered under human rights law is sexual
harassment. Under human rights law, sexual harassment is considered discrimination based on sex.
Harassment can also be based on the other grounds of discrimination, such as sexual orientation, race, age,
and physical or mental disability.
Harassment may involve threats of adverse consequences, such as job loss, if the victim attempts to end
the harassment. The more common type of harassment involves jokes or attitudes that are sexist, racist,
homophobic or derogatory towards other groups. This type of harassment can cause a “poisoned work
environment” that discriminates against certain groups, even if they are not included in the jokes or
Consider these scenarios on Sexual Harassment:
Scenario 1: Marie and Sally work in an office setting. They are the administrative staff for six males. Over
the years, Marie has exchanged crude jokes and viewed pornographic materials with the men in the office.
Marie enjoys viewing the photos and listening to the jokes. She mentions to Sally that the office would be a
boring place if it were not for the men. Sally does not enjoy this type of entertainment. She does not know
what to do as her boss is one of the men involved. She is not included in the jesting but is forced to listen
because of the positioning of her desk.
Scenario 2: Rob works at a call centre as a customer service representative. The majority of his shifts are
spent with the same group of six co-workers of which he is the only man. When calls are slow, the
conversation has often turned to the women‟s personal lives and their relationships. At first, Rob just ignored
the conversations. Lately though, a couple of the women have been making comments such as “all men are
pigs,” “men just don‟t have a sweet clue,” and “men are really only good for one thing.”
Sally and Rob could be experiencing sexual harassment, or discrimination on the basis of sex in the area of
employment. Although they are not participating in the sexual talk, they are uncomfortable because the
jesting is going on around them and creating a poisoned work environment. According to the law, Sally and
Rob do not have to endure this type of behaviour. Marie, on the other hand, is not experiencing sexual
harassment if she is enjoying the jesting.
As in the scenarios above, both women and men can be victims as well as perpetrators of sexual
harassment. Women and men can also be sexually harassed by individuals of the same gender. Sexual
harassment can occur in all types of workplaces, and at all levels of any company, institution or organization.
Bullying or Personal Harassment
Bullying, sometimes called psychological or personal harassment, is harassment that cannot be tied to a
prohibited ground of discrimination. Since there is no prohibited ground of discrimination, bullying is not
covered under the PEI Human Rights Act.
Consider this scenario on Bullying:
Jill and Mike work as servers in a busy bar and restaurant that employs a total of fifteen servers, six men
and nine women. Jill and Mike feel that the new manager has been treating them differently from the rest of
the staff. Even though they seem to make the same number of mistakes as the other staff, she is constantly
pointing out their mistakes or criticizing them while mostly leaving the other servers alone. On more than one
occasion, the manager has yelled profanities at Mike and Jill in front of customers and other staff. The other
servers have even noticed that they have been treated differently. Mike and Jill are not sure what the
manager‟s problem is with them.
Mike and Jill could be experiencing workplace bullying. Everyone notices that Mike and Jill are being treated
differently, but there is no related ground of discrimination. Although the PEI Human Rights Act does not
deal with workplace bullying, this type of behaviour has the same devastating effects as harassment based
on a ground of discrimination. Some of the effects of harassment and bullying include:
         low employee morale
         high turnover and training costs
         low productivity
         increase in absenteeism
         damage to public image
                              Women targeted by workplace bullying
While most of the discussion about bullying is centred on vulnerable young people,
there is a growing realization that it's also a serious problem in the workplace.

More employers are starting to implement anti-bullying measures, aimed at protecting
people from personal harassment by bosses and co-workers.

That harassment includes verbal abuse and ostracization of employees, most of them

Victims speak out

Ann McQueen says she was bullied out of her last job at a Vancouver pre-school,
driven to suicidal thoughts by her female supervisor.

"I still feel so shaken. Initially when I was fired and I went home and I thought that's
it, I have to be dead, I have to find a way to kill myself because I can't do this job."

McQueen says she didn't know why she was targeted, as her boss routinely berated
her over her job performance but never offered specifics.

"She said everyone in the office is annoyed with you and I said, 'Why are they
annoyed?' And she said, 'You should know.'"

Woman was 'screamed at'

Jacqueline Langlois, who used to work as a computer operator at a Vancouver law
firm, was also bullied by other women.

She says when her company changed to a new computer system, her female boss
refused to train her.

Langlois was also accused of having a bad attitude, but her
boss could never cite a specific incident. And she says the
woman turned her co-workers against her.

"The women were seeking my demise quite actively."

"It's quite amazing – (I was) accused, screamed at, insulted,

And she says there were lots of dirty looks and peers refusing to help with tasks.

Langlois says the bullying went on for more than a year, and took a toll on her mental

"I flirted with idea of suicide, and I knew better than to just make this idea grow, so I
went to the hospital and was eventually on a sick leave."

Langlois now works part time for another company. But she says her health is still
affected by her last job and she's fighting for workers' compensation benefits.

"I'm extremely jumpy all the time, I'm reacting as if it's danger. It's very difficult to
concentrate, to learn and memorize and remember. It has affected my social life, my
working life. I work only part time."
                       Victim starts support group

                       Karen Learmonth says she was bullied out of her job with a
                       large corporation in Vancouver where she'd worked for eight

                       She says she was sexually harassed,
                       threatened and ostracized by bosses
                       and co-workers.

Learmonth says the bullying robbed her of any joy in living –
and she knew it was time to quit her job the day she threw up
in the parking lot on the way to work.

She now leads a support group for other bulling victims – No Bully For Me.

"The support group helps educate people, helps support them. A lot of the problem
with bullying is that the people in your life don't understand. They develop compassion

Learmonth says thoughts of suicide are common.

"About 60 per cent pf people who go through it, who I've talked to, have at least
thought of it, and out of all our cases, about 10 per cent actually try."

Other common effects of bullying are depression, anxiety, insomnia and loss of
appetite and concentration.

Learmonth is self employed now.

Women bully women: study

The women's stories are typical, says Bellingham, Wash.-based social psychologist Dr.
Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute.

A 2003 survey conducted by Namie found that 58 per cent of the cases involved
women targeting women.

Namie found that while male bullies enlist higher level managers to help them, women
bullies employ the same tactics they've been using since they were school girls –
turning other women against the target.

"You get complete social misery when your co-workers no longer associate with you.
The bully has no problem getting allies and women will use that divide-and-conquer
more than men."

Namie notes that bullying involves a powerful person targeting a less powerful one,
and women tend to have the least power in the workplace.

He also says the bully is most often the boss and someone who wants to control
another person.

What makes women targets?

Dr. Namie has created a profile of the female personality type most often bullied,
   breaking it down into four factors.

   "Number one is independence – independent and feisty – a refusal to be subservient.

   "Factors two and three are they're technically more skilled, they have more social
   intelligence, better liked, they're better with people and bullies can be quite anti-

   "The fourth reason is that they are ethical whistle-blowers. Not all bully targets are
   whistle-blowers, but clearly all whistle blowers are bullied."

   Dr. Namie says other effects of bullying are depression, insomnia, headaches, racing
   heart and suicidal thoughts.

   He also notes that bullying damages morale, causes absenteeism and employee
   turnover – hurting a company's bottom line. And that's why Namie says companies
   need to take the issue seriously when incidents occur.

   At this point, only one province – Quebec – has an anti-bullying law.

   Some B.C. companies dealing with bullying

   More companies are realizing this is a problem and they're drafting anti-bullying
   policies. One program that's been praised by anti-bullying groups is Skytrain's.

   The idea came from Human Resources manager Gary May,
   who worked with other SkyTrain managers, employees and
   the union for two years to develop a policy.

   "Top down approaches don't work. People will be cynical and if
   you can involve employees, they've had input into the design,
   they're going to be more accepting of it."

   But he says he knew SkyTrain needed a policy.

   "Grown adults have to go home, and I've heard it said, break down in tears and had to
   come to work with a knot in their stomach."

   All SkyTrain staff receive education about bullying. And employees who think they're
   being bullied are offered a range of possible solutions – using outside advisors rather
   than company managers.

   May says the program has been well-received. "From the individuals that do come
   forward, for the most part they're pleased with what has occurred."

   SkyTrain is now using its expertise to help other organizations develop their own

Directory of Information and Resources on the
Prevention and Resolution of Workplace Harassment
    1. Introduction
    2. Programs
            o   Shared Mediators Program
            o   Non-represented Employee Advisors Program
    3. Courses
            o   “People to People Communication” course
            o   Managing Harassment Complaints (T704)
            o   Investigating Harassment Complaints (T703)
            o   Creating a Respectful Workplace (T916)
            o   Ethics, the Code and Decision Making (P011)
    4. Workplace Harassment Experts and Services
            o   Investigators approved by Public Works and Government Services Canada to investigate harassment
            o   Experts in workplace harassment
    5. Bibliography on Wordplace Harassment
            o   “Bullying”
            o   Harassment investigations
            o   Harassment guides
            o   Harassment based on disability
            o   Criminal harassment
            o   Psychological harassment
            o   Racial harassment
            o   Sexual harassment
            o   Harassment policy and legislation
            o   Harassment videos (to be completed)

                                                                                     DIRECTORY OF INFOR

In the context of its mandate to support departments in effectively applying policies and its commitment to the professio
Policy on the Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace. The directory contains basic information on p
experts who offer lectures and training on the subject. The directory ends with a bibliography of recent articles, books a
This part of the directory provides a description of two major programs that support the Policy on the Prevention and R

1. Shared Mediators Program

The main objective of this program is to provide federal departments and participating agencies with the services of ind

2. Non-represented Employee Advisors Program

The objective of this program is to have in-house experts from participating agencies provide unrepresented and exclud

For more information, go to the following site:

This part of the directory lists descriptions of courses on the prevention and resolution of workplace harassment. The fi
Canada School of Public Service.

“People to People Communication”

The People to People Communication: Preventing and Resolving Harassment for a Healthy Work Environment course
healthy work environment. It includes scenarios, situations, information on pertinent topics (such as communication, co

The course is available on line at:

1. Managing Harassment Complaints (T704)

This course provides the knowledge and skills needed to manage a harassment complaint process in accordance with
the progress of a harassment complaint and become familiar with the various steps in the complaint process.

For more information, go to the following site:

2. Investigating Harassment Complaints (T703)

This course enables employees to become familiar with the Policy, understand the dynamics of harassment, recognize
course provides the sensitivity and skills needed to handle investigations properly.

For more information, go to the following site:

3. Creating a Respectful Workplace

This one-day course is designed not only to broaden understanding of the issue of harassment, but also to provide par

For more information, go to the following site:

4. Ethics, the Code and Decision Making (P011)

This is an introductory course in ethics for public servants who wish to understand the evolution of ethics in their work e

For more information, go to the following site:

This part provides information on workplace harassment services and experts. It includes the following lists:

    1. a list of investigators approved by Public Works and Government Services Canada to investigate harassment c
    2. a list of university experts in workplace harassment.

                   G HILL

                   DESIGNS INC.




INVESTIGATIVE      2916258


INVESTIGATIVE      4278801
                   THE    National
                   INC.   030002/016/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e





                   L-J         National
                   LTD.        030002/026/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e

INVESTIGATIVE      D&A        National
                     INC.          030002/004/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e

                   ANPER       National
                   INC.        030002/019/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e

                   LYNDA      National
                   CONSULTANT 030002/018/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e

                   DUNPHY &    National
                   INC.        030002/022/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e


                   BEVERLY  National
                   LAWRENCE 030002/017/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e







                   LES           National
                   LUCIE A.
                   SAVAGE INC.   030002/009/ZG&srch=bc&altlang=-e

1. Name: Angelo Soares

Title: Professor, Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management Sciences, University of Q


P.O. Box 6192, Downtown Station

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

H3C 4R2

Telephone: (514) 987-3000, extension 2089

Fax: (514) 987-0407

Web site:


Areas of research

His areas of research are psychological harassment, workplace violence, new forms of organization of work (especially

Services provided

Dr. Soares gives lectures and provides training on psychological harassment in the workplace and other forms of workp

2. Name: Céleste Grimard-Brotheridge

Title: Professor, Department of Organization and Human Resources, School of Management Sciences, University of Q

Telephone: (514) 987-3000, extension 6540

Fax: (514) 987-0407

Web site:

Areas of research

Emotions and work, burnout, psychological harassment in the workplace, and marketing of university education

Services provided

Dr. Grimard-Brotheridge provides custom training, training in managerial skills, and training in strategic human resource

3. Name: Vincent Rousseau

Title: Professor, School of Industrial Relations, University of Montreal


School of Industrial Relations

University of Montreal
Vincent Rousseau, professor

P.O. Box 6128, Downtown Station
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7

Telephone: (514) 343-6111, extension 1286

Fax: (514) 343-5764

Web sites:




Areas of research

His research themes include the operation and effectiveness of work teams, psychological health in the workplace, and

Services provided

Dr. Rousseau gives lectures and provides consulting services in the area of workplace harassment.

4. Name: Jennifer L. Berdahl

Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Behaviour, St. George Campus, University of Toronto

University of Toronto

105 George Street

Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6

Telephone: (416) 978-4273

Fax: (416) 978-4629

Web site:


Areas of research

Her areas of research include workplace harassment, social power, and diversity in groups and organizations.

Services provided

Dr. Berdahl gives presentations on workplace harassment.

5. Name: Jana Raver

Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Behaviour, Queen‟s University


Queen‟s School of Management

Goodes Hall

Queen‟s University

Kingston, Ontario

K7L 3N6

Telephone: (613) 533-3253, extension 33253

Fax: (613) 533-6847

Web site:


Areas of research
Her areas of research include interpersonal conflict and aggression, diversity in the workplace and cultural behaviour in

Services provided

Dr. Raver gives presentations on workplace harassment.

6. Name: Erick Chamberland

Title: Professor, Department of Economics and Administration, University of Quebec at Chicoutimi


University of Quebec at Chicoutimi

555 Boulevard de l‟Université

Chicoutimi, Quebec

G7H 2B1

Telephone: 545-5011, extension 5603

Fax: Not available

Web site:


Areas of research

His areas of research include strategic human resources management, occupational safety and health, psychological h

Services provided

Dr. Chamberland gives lectures on workplace harassment.

7. Name: Laurent Lapierre

Title: Assistant Professor, Department of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management, University of


136 Jean-Jacques Lussier

Ottawa, Ontario
K1N 6N5

Telephone: (613) 562-5800, extension 4914

Fax: (613) 562-5164

Web site:




Areas of research

His areas of research include employee health and well-being, effective leadership, attitudes toward work (commitmen

Services provided

Dr. Lapierre gives lectures on workplace harassment.

This part of the directory is a bibliography of harassment material based on ten themes:

    1. Bullying
    2. Harassment investigations
    3. Harassment guides
    4. Harassment based on disability
    5. Criminal harassment
    6. Psychological harassment
    7. Racial harassment
    8. Sexual harassment
    9. Harassment policy and legislation
    10. Videos

Note that the materials are listed in their original language.


    1. “Building a Culture of Respect: Managing Bullying at Work” in IRS Employment Review, Issue 744, 2002, pp. 4
    2. COUZINS, Martin, and Kevin FRIERY. “Expert's View: Kevin Friery on Dealing with Bullying in The workplace”
   3. “The Bully Employee: A Survival Guide for Supervisors” in Supervision, Vol. 65, No. 3, March 2004, p. 6. http://
   4. COYNE, Lain, and al. “Self and Peer Nominations of Bullying: An Analysis of Incident Rates, Individual Differen
   5. HOOD, Sarah B. “Workplace Bullying” in Canadian Business Vol. 77, no. 18 (9/13), 2004, p. 87. http://search.e
   6. LEE, Deborah. “Gendered Workplace Bullying in the Restructured UK Civil Service” in Personnel Review Vol. 3
   7. MIKKELSEN, Eva Gemzøe, and Stale EINARSEN. “Basic Assumptions and Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stre
   8. SEWARD, Karen, and Sheila FAHY. “Tackling Workplace Bullies” in Occupational Health, Vol. 55, No. 5, May
   9. SHEENAN, Michael, and al. “Analyzing Metaphors used by Victims of Workplace Bullying” in International Jour
   10. VEGA, Gina, and Debra R. COMER. “Sticks and Stones may Break Your Bones, but Words can Break Your Sp
   11. WHITE, Sheila. “Lies in Truth and Truth in Lies: An in-Depth Study of a Workplace Bullying Scenario” in Busine


   12. AGGARWAL, Arjun P. Sexual Harassment Investigations: How to Limit Your Liability and More: A Practical Gu
   13. BERNARDI, Lauren M. “Investigating Harassment Complaints”, in Canadian Manager, Vol. 27, no. 2, Summer
   14. GUPTNA, Neena. Sexual Harassment: A Guide to Conducting Investigations. Toronto, Lexis Nexis Butterworth
   15. KASANOVICH, Wendy and al. “Preventing and Correcting Sexual Harassment: A Guide to the Ellerth/Faraghe
   16. MACKILLOP, Malcolm. “Workplace Harassment” in HR Professional, Vol. 21, no. 5, Oct/Nov, 2004, 30 p. http:/
   17. NEUSON, Bridget A. “Properly Investigate Harassment Complaints” in Nursing Management, Vol. 36, no. 6, Ju
   18. OPPENHEIMER, Amy. “Investigating Workplace Harassment and Discrimination” in Employee Relations Law J
   19. PANARO, Gerard P. “Investigation of Harassment can Give Rise to Negligence Claim” in Fair Employment Pra


   20. AGGARWAL, Arjun P. Sexual Harassment Investigations: How to Limit Your Liability and More: A Practical Gu
   21. COMMISSION DES NORMES DU TRAVAIL. Preventing Psychological Harassment Is Everyone’s Business!: P
   22. GUPTNA, Neena. Sexual Harassment: A Guide to Conducting Investigations. Toronto, Lexis Nexis Butterworth
   23. KASANOVICH, Wendy and al. “Preventing and Correcting Sexual Harassment: A Guide to the Ellerth/Faraghe
   24. KURETZKY, Barry, and Jennifer MACKENZIE. Human Resources Guide to Managing Workplace Harassment
   25. LAFOND, Reine. Le Harcèlement Psychologique: Tout Ce Que l'Employeur Doit Savoir, Cowansville, Québec,
   26. Preventing harassment in the workplace: A guide for employees, Victoria B. C., British Columbia human Rights
   27. “Supervisor can be Individually Liable for Sexual Harassment Under State Law” in Fair Employment Practices
   28. THORNBORYT, Greta. “Resource Guide” in Occupational Health, Vol. 56, No. 5, May 2004, p. 31. http://searc
   29. WILSON, Penny, and Michael MCCARTNEY. “Legal Q & A HR Guide to Harassment” in Personnel Today, Vo

Harassment based on disability

   30. “Inappropriate Remarks Amounted to Disability Harassment” in Equal Opportunities Review, Issue 103, 2002,
   31. MITCHELL, Dominic D. “New Rulings Concerning on-the-Job Harassment and Discrimination” in Employee Rig
Criminal harassment

   32. DEMPSEY, Karen. “Case Round-Up” in Personnel Today, Vol. 5, No. 3, 2005, p. 12.
   33. L. M. “The Red Flags of Violence” in HR Professional, Vol. 22, No. 3, June/July 2005, p. 13. http://search.epne
   34. Stalking is a Crime Called Criminal Harassment. Rev. ed. Ottawa: Dept. of Justice Canada, 2003.

Psychological harassment

   35. BINETTE, Nicole. Victime Au Travail: L'Enfer Du Harcèlement Psychologique, Montréal, Éditions de l'Homme,
   36. COMMISSION DES NORMES DU TRAVAIL. Preventing Psychological Harassment Is Everyone’s Business!: P
   37. CORDEAU, Marie Josée. Le Harcèlement Psychologique Au Travail: Témoignage, Définition, Législation, Coll
   38. LAFOND, Reine. Le Harcèlement Psychologique: Tout Ce Que l'Employeur Doit Savoir, Cowansville, Québec,
   39. Le Harcèlement Et Les Lésions Psychologiques, Cowansville, Québec, Éditions Y. Blais, 2005.
   40. MOREAU, Nicole. Violence ou harcèlement psychologique au travail ? Problématique, Québec, Gouvernemen
   41. POLI, Pascal, and Damien MERLLIÉ. “Psychological Harassment at the Workplace: Part One” in European Ind
   42. POLI, Pascal, and Damien MERLLIÉ. “Psychological Harassment at the Workplace: Part Two” in European Ind
   43. POLI, Pascal, and Damien MERLLIÉ. “Psychological Harassment at the Workplace: Part Three” in European I
   44. POIRIER, Guy. The New Standards for Protection against Psychological Harassment in the Workplace: A Mod
   45. POIRIER, Guy. The New Standards for Protection Against Psychological Harassment in the Workplace: A Mod

Racial harassment

   46. BERDAHL, J. L., and C. MOORE. "Workplace harassment: Double jeopardy for minority women", in Journal of
   47. PANARO, Gerard P. „„Dealing with Racial Harassment‟‟ in Fair Employment Practices Guidelines, Issue 570, 2
   48. SCHOFIELD, Peter. „„Embarrassed by Harassment‟‟ in Works Management , Vol. 56, no. 5, May, 2003, 17 p. h

Sexual harassment

   49. AGGARWAL, Arjun P. Sexual Harassment Investigations: How to Limit Your Liability and More: A Practical Gu
   50. GILBERT, Jacqueline A. “Sexual Harassment and Demographic Diversity: Implications for Organizational Puni
   51. KASANOVICH, Wendy and al. “Preventing and Correcting Sexual Harassment: A Guide to the Ellerth/Faraghe
   52. MORGAN, James F., and al. “The California Spin on Harassment by Supervisors: Avoidable Consequences an
   53. “Supervisor can be Individually Liable for Sexual Harassment Under State Law” in Fair Employment Practices

Harassment policy and legislation

   54. Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace : Last revision, Dec. 2001 ed. Ottawa: The Commission, 2001. http
   55. CANTIN, Isabelle. Politiques Contre Le Harcèlement Au Travail Et Réflexions Sur Le Harcèlement Psychologiq
   56. MORGAN, James F., and al. “The California Spin on Harassment by Supervisors: Avoidable Consequences an
   57. “New Harassment Legislation Working Well” in European Industrial Relations Review, Issue 364, 2004, pp. 4-8
    58. POHL, Louise. How to Write a Policy to Prevent Harassment: The Silent Killer of Workplace Harmony, Vancou
    59. Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace , Last revision, December 2001, Ottawa: The Commission, 2001. h
    60. “Supervisor can be Individually Liable for Sexual Harassment Under State Law” in Fair Employment Practices

Treatment of Harassment Bullying in the workplace
Harassment in the workplace is recognized increasingly as a major problem that affects negatively
employee productivity, morale, and mental health. Recently, the Province of Quebec became the first
province in Canada to pass legislation making psychological harassment an indictable offence. No doubt
other provinces including B.C. will follow this precedent.

I will describe a three-step model for treating harassment in the workplace, and illustrate this model with the
clinical case of a woman experiencing harassment in the form of public criticism by her manager.

Approach to Treating Harassment

Within the framework of my primary approach, Voice Therapy, I subscribe to a step model of treating
harassment therapeutically, which involves three steps or levels of intervention. In Step 1, the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior confronts the person exhibiting the unwanted behavior in an assertive,
responsible manner regarding stopping the unwanted behavior. If this does not resolve the problem, in Step
2, other resources are involved in stopping the unwanted behavior. If the problem remains unresolved, in
Step 3, the person experiencing the unwanted behavior engages in a process of grieving to achieve
resolution and to move on. This may or may not involve seeking employment elsewhere.

In the step model, there is a strong emphasis on resolving the harassment in Step 1. Resolving the issue at
this level has the advantage of the person experiencing the unwanted behavior feeling a sense of efficacy by
confronting and stopping the unwanted behavior. In Step 2, where other resources - such as a union, human
resources department, or senior management - are involved, there is the possibility that the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior will feel passive and dependent, while waiting for these resources to
resolve the problem. If these resources respond inadequately, there is also the possibility that the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior will
under go a "secondary wounding", an injury compounding the original harassment.

My working definition of harassment is any behavior that is experienced as unwanted and psychologically
distressing. This definition gives priority to the inner experience of the person experiencing the unwanted
behavior rather than on the correctness or incorrectness of the unwanted behavior. If an individual does not
like a certain behavior, this therapeutic approach stresses that the individual is entitled fully to not like this
behavior and to want it to stop. Rather than the individual focusing on whether the unwanted behavior is
correct or incorrect, appropriate or inappropriate, this approach emphasizes the validity of the individual's
experience of the behavior
as unwanted and distressing. In this way, an individual can hold on to his or her experience that the behavior
is unwanted and distressing even if the other party rationalizes that the behavior is correct and appropriate.

To see a clinical case that describes my model of treating harassment, click on the the following heading:

Clinical Case: Woman Experiencing Public Belittlement
and Criticism
Nancy, an administrative assistant in a private financial services company, called indicating that she was
having difficulty with her manager. Nancy reported that her manager was making critical comments to her in
front of colleagues that she experienced as belittling and upsetting. She indicated that she had thought
about resigning, but liked the position. As the single parent of two teenagers, Nancy felt reluctant to give up
the financial security that this position afforded her family. She indicated a willingness to explore her feelings
about this situation further and booked an appointment.

Step 1: Confronting the person exhibiting the unwanted behavior directly in an assertive and
responsible manner regarding stopping the behavior.

In Step 1, the person experiencing the unwanted behavior communicates directly in an assertive,
responsible manner about wanting the unwanted behavior to stop. Often the person exhibiting the unwanted
behavior is unaware that the other person is feeling distressed by this behavior. Communicating in a
responsible manner not only informs the person exhibiting the unwanted behavior of this, but also increases
the likelihood that this person will respond in a positive manner by stopping the unwanted behavior rather
than becoming defensive. Often an assertive, responsible discussion will be sufficient to resolve the
problem. As the clinical case that follows
illustrates, considerable work is often necessary to prepare the person experiencing the unwanted behavior
to not only feel strong enough to confront the other party directly, but also to know how to do this in an
assertive, responsible manner.In the first session, Nancy explained that the problem with her manager had
started about one year previously, while she was being trained in her new position. She noticed that her
manager would make comments that she experienced as critical and belittling that could be heard by
colleagues. The manager would make statements such as: "You did this wrong again .... How many times
do I have to tell you .... What's taking you so long." Nancy thought that these comments would stop once
she had completed her training and probationary
period, but they did not. Her manager continued to make comments publicly that she experienced as
belittling about her performance, leaving her feeling embarrassed and self-conscious. Although Nancy
thought of herself as a good employee, she had started to doubt herself at work. The more she doubted
herself, the more mistakes she made. The more mistakes she made, the more she doubted herself. In an
effort to make fewer mistakes, she had started to double check all her work. She was aware that she was
being less productive as a result, which left her feeling more anxious. She reported feeling constantly on
edge at work, dreading the next time she felt belittled publicly. Recently, she had noticed that she was
having a hard time motivating herself to go to work. On several occasions, she had called in sick because
she couldn't face another incident. By the time Nancy came to see me, she was feeling demoralized and
inadequate. I suggested that it wasn't surprising that Nancy was feeling this way, given what was happening
at work. Nancy seemed relieved to hear that her response was understandable and valid.

When I asked Nancy what if anything she had said to her manager about these comments, Nancy stated
that she had said nothing, largely because she was afraid of being seen as insubordinate and too sensitive.
Although Nancy did not like the critical comments, there was a part of her that believed she deserved these
comments and that she should be less sensitive.

At this point, I introduced Nancy to the notion of the negative thought process, or negative inner voice. I
explained that we all listen to a critical thought process toward ourselves, which is like an enemy within or
alien point of view toward ourselves. I noted that we internalize this negative thought process when we are
very young as the result of our parents critical attitudes toward us (see the link " Counselling Approach" for
more information about the negative voice).

I then asked Nancy what thoughts she had toward herself when she thought about her manager's
comments. Nancy stated, "I'm too sensitive. I should be able to take correction better. I shouldn't be making
mistakes." I then asked Nancy if she would be willing to engage in an experiment that would likely be
uncomfortable because it was unfamiliar, but which could be helpful to her. When Nancy agreed, I
suggested that she say these thoughts in the second person, "You", as if someone else was addressing her.
With my prompting, Nancy stated: "You're so sensitive. You don't take criticism well. You shouldn't be
making mistakes. You're lousy at you're job. You're pathetic." When I asked Nancy to repeat the last
statement in a louder voice, she did so and began to tear. When I enquired about what was happening for
her inside, she stated, "I'm so hard on myself. I'm sad about that." I then asked what emotional tone this
inner voice had in her head, and she stated, "It's critical and judgemental." When I asked her if this tone was
familiar to her, she nodded,
indicating that this tone reminded her of her mother's critical attitude toward her. In the ensuing discussion,
Nancy realized that her manager's comments had given ammunition to her own negative voice that she had
internalized toward herself as a child.
When I asked Nancy what it would be like to tell her manager that she didn't like the critical comments and
wanted them to stop, she indicated she was afraid she would embarrass herself and make matters worse.
When I suggested that she express these thoughts in the 2nd
person format, she stated, "You'll make a fool of yourself if you say anything. You'll make matters worse.
You shouldn't complain. Just do your job and shut up." As Nancy reflected on this experience, she realized
that it was her own negative inner voice that immobilized her in the face of her manager's unwanted
comments. With the awareness that it was her own negative voice that blocked her from "finding her voice"
and standing up for herself with her manager, I suggested that she answer back to the voice from her own
healty point of view about herself in the 1st person, "I". Nancy remarked, "I can't feel any worse or more
embarrassed than I do now. I've been quiet for too

When I explored what it was like to receive her manager's critical comments passively, Nancy stated that
she felt angry. When I asked how she felt about feeling angry, Nancy noted that she felt uncomfortable with
her anger. Further exploration indicated that she had grown up in a family where her parents had fought a
lot, yelling and screaming in a way that frighted her. She had internalized that anger was destructive and to
be avoided.

Nancy was curious when I introduced a distinction between primary anger, and reactive, secondary anger. I
explained that primary anger is biologically adaptive anger, that helps us to stand up for ourselves when we
are feeling violated in some way. In contrast, I suggested that secondary anger is not adaptive, but rather a
reactive or defensive response that masks deeper feelings such as sadness and fear. I also suggested that
expressing secondary anger tends to pull hostility from other people. I indicated it was important for her to
own her primary anger, and to use this anger-energy to help her confront her manager in an assertive,
responsible way. Nancy liked the idea that it was okay to feel angry about her manager's comments, and to
use her anger-energy to confront her manager in a responsible manner.

When Nancy enquired about what I meant by her confronting her manager in a responsible way, I
introduced the notion of responsible communication. I explained that we communicate more responsibly
when what we say is expressed as our own experience or perception rather
than as the "truth" or objective reality. I then gave her an example:

Less responsible statement: "You are criticizing me in front of my colleagues and embarrassing me." More
responsible: "My experience of how you correct me in front of colleagues is that I feel criticized and

The former communication lacks responsibility because it suggests that Nancy's perception or experience is
objective reality. This statement also implies blame and is likely to evoke a defensive response. The latter
statement is more responsible because Nancy owns her experience as her own perception. This statement
implies that someone else in her position might have a different response to the manager's comments - such
as feeling indifferent or even neutral.

Having introduced responsible communication, I stressed that Nancy was fully entitled to her experience of
her manager. If she felt not only belittled and embarrassed but also angered by how her manager addressed
her, she was entitled fully to these feelings. It was important to "find her voice" and convery how she felt to
her manager directly.

The next step was to assist Nancy in preparing to confront her manager. First, Nancy wrote out what she
would like to say to her manager in the form of a responsible communication. She wrote: "What you may not
know, is that I feel criticized and embarrassed when you point out my mistakes in a way that I think others
over hear. I am happy to receive feedback about my performance, but would like this done in private. To
repeat, I don't like how I perceive you are correcting me in front of others, and want it to stop. If it doesn't, I
will deal with it." Second, Nancy rehearsed this statement using a two chair technique, in which she
alternated between stating her position in one chair and answering back as she imagined her manager
might respond from the other chair, until she could say it with confidence in an assertive manner. As she did
this, I encouraged her to draw upon her healthy anger in order to speak with firm conviction. Third, I
prepared Nancy for how to respond to the eventuality of a less than favourable response from her manager.
I suggested that if her
manager did not take her seriously or tried to dismiss her feelings, that she hold on to her own experience
and what she wanted. If she did not get the response she wanted, at least she would feel good about finding
her voice. Finally, I used a guided visualization, in which Nancy, while in a relaxed state, visualized herself
confronting her manager successfully. This technique honed her readiness to confront her manager.

As it turned out, the manager did not respond favourably. Nancy described how the manager had said,
"You're too sensitive. You need to toughen up and learn to take criticism. I don't have time to take you aside
when I have to correct you." To this, Nancy had replied, "I may or may not be sensitive. I don't like how you
are correcting me in front of my colleagues. I want this to stop. If it doesn't, I will deal with it." Nancy left this
meeting feeling somewhat shaken by her manager's response, but her dominant feeling was empowerment
because she had found her voice and held her position, which was based on the validity of her own feelings
and needs.Although Nancy did not attain the resolution she had wanted to in Step 1, more often than not a
resolution is reached at the completion of Step 1. In this case, Step 1 was insufficient for a resolution, and
treatment progressed to Step 2 of the model.

Step 2: Involving other resources in stopping the unwanted behavior.

In this step, other resources are evaluated and involved in stopping the unwanted behavior. These
resources may be inside the workplace - such as human resources, union, and higher levels of
management, or outside the workplace - such as the Human Rights Commission (in cases of
discrimination), Workers' Compensation Board, and the legal community.

For a brief period after Nancy confronted her manager, she noticed an improvement in the manager's
behavior. The manager took a "hands off" approach to supervising her, which she liked. Soon, however, the
manager reverted to the old supervisory style. Nancy confronted the manager directly a second time,
reiterating her original message, but to no avail.

At my suggestion, Nancy started to document in detail each of the incidents of unwanted behavior, citing
specifics such as dates, places, what happened, and witnesses present. In keeping this record, she
attempted to be as descriptive as possible, sticking closely to "the facts" as she perceived them. Keeping
this record helped to validate Nancy's experience of her manager's unwanted behavior.

Next, Nancy assessed the resources within her firm in terms of which she thought would be the most helpful
to her in stopping the harassment. Because there was no union, Nancy's only options were human
resources and upper management. Because she knew that the manager and and the manager's boss were
friends, she decided that her best option was to approach the human resources officer.

In preparation for this meeting, she organized her documentation and rehearsed her message using
responsible communication as she had done previously. I suggested as before that she might not get the
response she wanted, and that it would be important to validate herself if this occurred.

The human resouces officer listened to her statement, which included how the manager's behavior was
affecting her motivation and performance adversely. The officer stated that he would get back to her after
consulting the manager. Several days later, the officer reported back to her. It was clear that the officer was
siding with and defending the manager. The officer indicated that the manager
was just doing her job, and didn't have time to take her aside whenever she needed to give her corrective
feedback. The officer thought that she was over-reacting and too sensitive. Nancy responded by reiterating
that whether or not she was sensitive, she didn't like how the manager was talking to her in front of
colleagues and that she wanted this behavior to stop. At this point, the officer looked at his watch and stated
that he had another meeting to go to.

Nancy felt disappointed but not crushed by this outcome. On the one hand, not getting the response she
wanted felt like a "secondary wounding", an injury compounding the original experience of harassment. On
the other hand, she felt proud of herself because she had
again "found her voice" and held on to her experience in the face of opposition.

Nancy was receptive to my suggestion to attend an anti-harassment/bullying support group (see Nancy found it helpful to discover that she was not alone in facing harassment in
the workplace. She drew strength from the support she both received
and gave to others.
It is likely that without the "holding environment" of the anti-harassment support group and counselling,
Nancy would have felt progressively more depressed and eventually taken a health leave. This would have
then placed her in a passive and dependent position as
she looked to outside agencies - such as an insurance company or the Workers' Compensation Board - for
financial assistance. Such assistance may or may not have been forthcoming, and may have involved
delays. In Nancy's case however, she did not go on a health leave. Instead, she began to think about finding
a healthier workplace.

Step 3: Achieving resolution and moving on

Achieving resolution involves coming to an acceptance of the experience of harassment. This requires a
grieving process. In situations where the experience of harassment has been highly distressing, this may
require EMDR, a technique used for reprocessing trauma. Achieving resolution also involves adopting a
healthy point of view toward self and others. This enables people to move on emotionally and in some cases
literally, by finding a healthier workplace.

In helping Nancy to achieve resolution, I encouraged her to begin by grieving the lack of a positive outcome
with her employer. Given how hard Nancy had worked to communicate responsibly, it was a real
disappointment that she had not received a positive response from her company. It was also a loss to be in
the process of leaving a job that she had liked.

I encouraged Nancy to feel her loss fully, and suggested she write an "Open Letter" for her own benefit to
her company in which she expressed all her feelings of sadness, anger, and fear. I explained that the idea of
such a letter is to sit down each day, even if only for a few minutes, and to write whatever thoughts and
feelings one has. This idea appealed to Nancy because she liked to write.

Because Nancy had experienced ongoing validation of her feelings in counselling, and felt positive about
how she had stood up for herself, at this point she did not struggle to any extent with a negative thought
process toward herself. Generally, when people experience an unsatisfactory outcome regarding
harassment, this stirs up a strong negative thought process toward the self in which people blame
themselves for the outcome (e.g., "If only I'd conducted myself differently, I would have been believed"). The
negative thought process that Nancy "listened to" pertained to feeling sorry for herself. Occasionally, she
would think, "I didn't deserve this unwanted behavior. This shouldn't have happened to me. I'm a good
person." Although these thoughts were understandable, I suggested it was not in her best interest to listen to
these voices. Rather, I suggested that she separate these voices out and counter with her healthy point of
view in the first person, "I", focusing on the core cognition of being a "proud survivor" of harassment. Nancy
countered by telling herself, "I know that bad things happen to good people. I'm not going to feel sorry for
myself. I choose to see myself as a proud survivor. I will not let this experience limit me. I will live fully."

Nancy's greater struggle was with a negative thought process toward others. She experienced strong
negative thoughts, particularly toward her manager. She found herself thinking, "She's a critical bitch. She
wants to destroy me". Even though there was some validity to these thoughts, I suggested it was not in
Nancy's best interest to go with these thoughts. Rather, I suggested she separate out these thoughts in the
second person, "You", and counter from her healthy point of view in the first person, "I". From her healthy
point of view Nancy said, "I don't like my manager. I think she lacks the skills to be an effective manager."
Countering her voice attacks against the manager and the human resources officer helped Nancy to
maintain a healthy attitude toward people in management positions. Had she not done this, she would have
tended toward a cynical, untrusting view of managers in general.

As Nancy felt more resolved emotionally, she focused more energy on finding a new job. She was clear that
she did not want to be associated with an organization that disrespected her feelings. Had the organization
been large enough, she would have considered a transfer, but this was not an option. Although she knew
there was no guarantee she would find a healthier workplace, this was her intent. She trusted her feelings
during interviews, and ultimately chose a position that paid a bit less but which felt like a healthier

Harassment is a serious problem in the workplace. By confronting the unwanted behavior in an assertive,
responsible manner (Step 1), by involving other resources in stopping the unwanted behavior (Step 2), and
by achieving resolution and moving on (Step 3), people may
experience themselves as "proud survivors" of harassment.

Treatment of Harassment Bullying in the workplace
Harassment in the workplace is recognized increasingly as a major problem that affects negatively
employee productivity, morale, and mental health. Recently, the Province of Quebec became the first
province in Canada to pass legislation making psychological harassment an indictable offence. No doubt
other provinces including B.C. will follow this precedent.

I will describe a three-step model for treating harassment in the workplace, and illustrate this model with the
clinical case of a woman experiencing harassment in the form of public criticism by her manager.

Approach to Treating Harassment

Within the framework of my primary approach, Voice Therapy, I subscribe to a step model of treating
harassment therapeutically, which involves three steps or levels of intervention. In Step 1, the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior confronts the person exhibiting the unwanted behavior in an assertive,
responsible manner regarding stopping the unwanted behavior. If this does not resolve the problem, in Step
2, other resources are involved in stopping the unwanted behavior. If the problem remains unresolved, in
Step 3, the person experiencing the unwanted behavior engages in a process of grieving to achieve
resolution and to move on. This may or may not involve seeking employment elsewhere.

In the step model, there is a strong emphasis on resolving the harassment in Step 1. Resolving the issue at
this level has the advantage of the person experiencing the unwanted behavior feeling a sense of efficacy by
confronting and stopping the unwanted behavior. In Step 2, where other resources - such as a union, human
resources department, or senior management - are involved, there is the possibility that the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior will feel passive and dependent, while waiting for these resources to
resolve the problem. If these resources respond inadequately, there is also the possibility that the person
experiencing the unwanted behavior will
under go a "secondary wounding", an injury compounding the original harassment.

My working definition of harassment is any behavior that is experienced as unwanted and psychologically
distressing. This definition gives priority to the inner experience of the person experiencing the unwanted
behavior rather than on the correctness or incorrectness of the unwanted behavior. If an individual does not
like a certain behavior, this therapeutic approach stresses that the individual is entitled fully to not like this
behavior and to want it to stop. Rather than the individual focusing on whether the unwanted behavior is
correct or incorrect, appropriate or inappropriate, this approach emphasizes the validity of the individual's
experience of the behavior
as unwanted and distressing. In this way, an individual can hold on to his or her experience that the behavior
is unwanted and distressing even if the other party rationalizes that the behavior is correct and appropriate.

To see a clinical case that describes my model of treating harassment, click on the the following heading:

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bullying, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment. As a website for women,
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exchanging thoughts and ideas about women‟s rights today, and female

             Womens Issues - Women Discrimination in the Workplace
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discussing womens issues and women‟s rights today. Professional business women
can feel free to discuss any issue on regarding female empowerment and women‟s
rights today without fear of backlash. We encourage you to start taking charge of
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 Listing of Workplace Abuse, Bullying, Harassment, Mobbing, and
                         Violence Links

                                       HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                                 CALL                                  EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE             REGION   TOWN               CALL NAME                HQ           EXTRA NAME                 LANG
                                                 LETTERS                               LETTERS            NAME NAME
001 Australia   ACT                   Griffith   AIC    Australian Institute of               Occupational
                                                        Criminology                           Violence

002 Australia   Queensland            Brisbane          Workplace Mobbing                     MOBBING
                                                        Australia                             HARASSMENT
                                                                                              Whatever you
                                                                                              call it - it hurts.
                                                                                              bullies hurt
                                         HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                                    CALL                                     EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE            REGION      TOWN                CALL NAME                   HQ           EXTRA NAME                    LANG
                                                    LETTERS                                  LETTERS            NAME NAME

003 Australia   South       Australia   Salisbury   SAEBOW South Australian Employees               Bullies Down
                Australia   and New                        Bullied Out of Work                      Under

004 Australia   Victoria                Malvern              Duty of Care

005 Canada      AB                      Cochrane             Cyberbullying                          Always On?
                                                                                                    Always Aware!

006 Canada      BC          North       Duncan               The Work Doctor

007 Canada      ON                      Ottawa               Coalition contre le                                      Coalition
                                                             harcèlement au                                           against
                                                             gouvernement fédéral                                     harassment
                                                                                                                      by the

008 Canada      ON                      Toronto              Equality Rules                         Campaign to
                                                                                                    Healthy, Equal
                                                                                                    Between Boys
                                                                                                    and Girls

009 Canada      ON                      Toronto              It's A Girl's World                    A Documentary
                                                                                                    About Social
                                    HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                                  CALL                                   EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE        REGION      TOWN                  CALL NAME                 HQ           EXTRA NAME                     LANG
                                                  LETTERS                                LETTERS            NAME NAME

010 Canada    ON                    Toronto              It's A Girl's World                    The 3 part
                                                                                                radio series

011 Canada    ON        Asia        Toronto       CARM   Counter Aggression              PDI    Passmore Duff
                        Pacific /                        Response Model                         International

    COUNTRY STATE       REGION      TOWN          CALL    CALL NAME                 HQ EXTRA   EXTRA NAME LOCAL ENGLISH         LANG
                                                  LETTERS                              LETTERS            NAME NAME
012 Canada    ON                    Toronto       CIWV   Canadian Initiative on
                                                         Workplace Violence

013 Canada    QC        Nationwide Montreal                                 Helping to
                                                                                                make 'mobbing'
                                                                                                a household
                                                                                                word in

014 Canada    QC                    Montreal             Prévenir la violence au                                  Prevent
                                                         travail                                                  Violence at

015 Canada    Quebec                Quebec City          Gouvernement du Québec -               Harcèlement       Government
                                                         Commission des normes du               psychologique     of Quebec -
                                                         travail                                au travail /      Labour
                                                                                                Psychological     Standards
                                                                                                harrasment at     Commission

016 England   Greater   Worldwide London          jfo    The jfo Project                        just fight on
                                      HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                                  CALL                                          EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE           REGION    TOWN                 CALL NAME                        HQ           EXTRA NAME                      LANG
                                                  LETTERS                                       LETTERS            NAME NAME

017 France     Bas-Rhin    Alsace    Strasbourg            Association Mots pour Maux                                     Words for
                                                           au Travail                                                     harm at

018 France     Paris       Ile-de-   Paris        ACHP     Association Contre le
                           France                          Harcèlement Professionnel

019 France     Paris       Ile-de-   Paris        SST      Association Solidarité
                           France                          Souffrances au Travail

020 France     Val-de-     Ile-de-   Rungis       HMS      Harcèlement Moral Stop
               Marne       France

021 Germany                Bayern    München      ver.di   Vereinte                             ZibU   Zivilcourage im    Civil
                                                           Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft                 beruflichen        courage in
                                                                                                       Umfeld             the
022 Italy      Lombardia             Milan                 Mobbing-Sisu: Il caso Nigris,               Inner strength,    Mobbing = Multi
                                                           dipendente impiegata                        determination,     Bullying,
                                                           dell'Ospedale                               perseverance       Sisu =
                                                           Fatebenefratelli e Oftalmico                in the face of     Finnish for
                                                           di Milano                                   the adversity of   stamina,
                                                                                                       bullying           hardiness

     COUNTRY STATE         REGION    TOWN         CALL    CALL NAME                        HQ EXTRA   EXTRA NAME LOCAL ENGLISH          LANG
                                                  LETTERS                                     LETTERS            NAME NAME
023 New                              New                   beyond bullying                             advocating
    Zealand                          Plymouth                                                          zero tolerance
                                                                                                       to workplace
                                                                                                       bullying in New

024 Northern                         Belfast               Equality Commission for
    Ireland                                                Northern Ireland
                                     HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                                   CALL                                       EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE           REGION   TOWN                   CALL NAME                     HQ           EXTRA NAME                 LANG
                                                   LETTERS                                    LETTERS            NAME NAME

025 South                           Johannesburg           Work Trauma

026 UK                                                     The Workplace Bullying Site               The Premier
                                                                                                     UK Web site
                                                                                                     Harassment in
                                                                                                     the Workplace

027 UK       Devon                  Tavistock              Workplace Bullying, Stress,
                                                           Employment Law and You

028 UK       GTM                    Manchester     USDAW   Union of Shop, Distributive               Freedom From
                                                           and Allied Workers                        Fear Campaign

029 UK       Oxfordshire            Didcot                 The Field Foundation                      Bully Online

030 UK       Oxfordshire            Oxford                 Bully OnLine                  HQ

031 US       AL                     Montgomery                                Fight Hate, and

032 US       CA                     Antioch                Hofesh - Freedom From                     To provide
                                                           Bullying                                  validation and
                                                                                                     support of
                                                                                                     targets of
                              HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                             CALL                                      EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE   REGION    TOWN                    CALL NAME                    HQ           EXTRA NAME                 LANG
                                             LETTERS                                   LETTERS            NAME NAME

033 US     CA      North     Benicia                Bully Busters                      CAWB   Campaign
                   America                                                                    Against
                   Wide                                                                       Workplace

                                             LETTERS                                 LETTERS            NAME NAME
034 US     CA                Beverly Hills          STAND UP - Stand Up for                   A campaign to
                                                    women's rights and equality               end Sexual
                                                                                              and Domestic
                                                                                              Violence -
                                                                                              Inspired by the
                                                                                              film North

035 US     CA                Lake Forest            National Institute For The                Workplace
                                                    Prevention Of Workplace                   Violence 911

036 US     CA                Los Osos               Sam Horn                                  Take the Bully
                                                                                              by the Horns
037 US     CA                Newport                                   Where Your
                             Beach                                                            Fight Begins

038 US     CA                Palm Springs           Workplace Violence
                                                    Research Institute

039 US     CA                Santa Cruz             Deal Consulting

040 US     CA                Sunnyvale              Nineveh
                             HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                            CALL                                   EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE   REGION   TOWN                    CALL NAME                 HQ           EXTRA NAME                 LANG
                                            LETTERS                                LETTERS            NAME NAME

041 US     CA      Nation   Tarzana                Sexual Harassment-
                   wide                            Discrimination Hotline

042 US     DC               Washington             The Empower Program                    Because
                                                                                          shouldn't be a
                                                                                          rite of passage

043 US     DC               Washington             Women Abused,
                                                   Inhumanely Mistreated In
                                                   the US Postal Service

044 US     DC               Washington      AFGE   American Federation of                 AFGE Local      Local
                                                   Government Employees                   12's Proposal 12
                                                                                          to Secretary of
                                                                                          Labor Elaine
                                                                                          Chao on
                                                                                          Bullying and
                                                                                          Harassment of
                                                                                          February 2006

                                            LETTERS                              LETTERS            NAME NAME
045 US     IA               Ames                   Mobbing-U.S.A                          MOBBING:
                                                                                          Abuse in the
                                                                                          Workplace - A
                                                                                          book about
                                                                                          Abuse in the

046 US     IL               Lake Forest     CCA    Cuss Control Academy

047 US     IL               Wilmette               Stopping School Violence               Immediately
                                                                                          learn skills to
                                                                                          keep your child
                                                                                          safe from
                                                                                          bullying and
048 US     NY               Staten Island          From Bullies to Buddies                Empowering
                                                                                          the world's
                                                                                          victims of
                                                                                          teasing and
049 US     WA               Auburn                 Nurse Advocate
                                   HEALTH & SAFETY ABUSE AND HARASSMENT LINKS
                                               CALL                                    EXTRA              LOCAL ENGLISH
NO COUNTRY STATE        REGION    TOWN                 CALL NAME                  HQ           EXTRA NAME                 LANG
                                               LETTERS                                 LETTERS            NAME NAME

050 US        WA        Nation    Bainbridge   WW      Working Wounded                        Adding insight
                        Wide      Island                                                      to injury

051 US        WA        North     Bellingham           The Workplace Bullying &
                        America                        Trauma Institute

Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

Bullying and Mental Health in Academic Workplaces: The
Problem and the Solution - Michael Wm. MacGregor
Michael Wm. MaGregor*, Elizabeth Quinlan*, Glenis Joyce*, and Ailsa Watkinson**
* University of Saskatchewan, ** University of Regina

Workplaces are common sites of bullying. The sense of shame that most victims experience leads to
low self-reporting rates, which further reinforces the unspoken sanctioning of bullying within a
workplace. Prevalence rates of workplace bullying range from as low as 2% when self-reported to 25%
when operationally measured. A wide range of health outcomes from bullying has been identified,
including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, headaches, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.
Moreover, workplace bullying has also been found to be a factor in purposeful damaging of employer
property, squandering of materials, and counterproductive behaviours which result in considerable

Physical violence and sexual harassment are violations that have historically been considered in
Occupational, Health and Safety, and Human Rights legislation while workplace bullying has not. The
introduction of clauses pertaining to the prevention of compensation for 'psychological harassment' in
Quebec's Labour Standards Act marks the first legislative initiatives in Canada to deal with workplace

As public sector organizations, universities face increased pressure to conform to a 'business ethic'
and many of the consequences are likely contributory factors of workplace bullying: The loss of middle
managers and other personnel trained in conflict resolution, reduction of internal job ladders and other
mechanisms providing job security, a tendency towards autocratic managerial styles, etc. Universities
in Australia have researched and taken significant steps to combat workplace bullying, however, to our
knowledge there is no research on bullying in Canadian academic workplaces

This research project has objectives:
1) to identify the dimensions of bullying in the academic workplace, 2) to design and implement a
                        staged intervention protocol aimed at mitigating the mental health outcomes
                        from workplace bullying, to be administered to three broad occupational groups
                        represented in the academic workplace - professional, administrative/technical,
                        and clerical/service, 3) to measure the effects of the employee-driven
                        interventions upon their mental health using both qualitative and quantitative
                        analyses, and 4), to promote progressive change in the organizational culture
                        of the intervention sites and other workplaces through multiple knowledge
                        translation activities. We will accomplish these objectives through three studies.
                        The first study will consist of focus groups to qualitatively understand the nature
and extent of academic workplace bullying. The second study will quantitatively assess the extent of
workplace bullying experienced by participants, provide them with information on workplace bullying
(as a psychoeducational intervention) and measure their physical and mental health both before and
after they are provided with information on workplace bullying. The third study will be an extension of
study two but rather than using a psychoeducational approach we will incorporate individual and group
meetings to discuss strategies to deal with and counteract workplace bullying. Again, physical and
mental health will be measured both before and after the intervention. As we have collaborators from
both the University of Saskatchewan and Regina we will be running these studies at each university to
assess the generalizability of our findings.

To accomplish these objectives we have Jim Turk, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of
University Teachers, Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, and the
presidents of all three unions at the University of Saskatchewan as collaborators. As well, discussions
are underway to gain the same union support from the University of Regina. It is our intention to
extend the team to other jurisdictions (e.g., University of Waterloo, McMaster University, etc.) and
ultimately use the Saskatchewan-based project as a model to direct subsequent projects in other
jurisdictions by other team members.

From Club Fed.

         Anti-Harassment Policies for the Workplace: An Employer's Guide
         Best Practices for Workplace Promotion of Violence Prevention - Prince Edward
         Bullying in the Workplace
         Checklist for an Anti-Harassment Policy: Medium and Large Organizations
         Checklist for an Anti-Harassment Policy: Small Organizations
         Government of Nova Scotia Sexual Harrassment Policy - Nova Scotia
         Harassment - Employer's Responsibility
         Preventing Violence and Harassment in the Workplace - Alberta
         Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - An Information Guide for Employees and
          Employers - Newfoundland and Labrador
         Workplace Safety Program - Prince Edward Island

Bullied in the Boardroom
Vol. 08 Issue 08

With the office as their playground, these mean, aggressive, dominating personalities are poisoning the workplace.

by Neil Parmar

Buried deep in paperwork, a nurse completes a patient's chart on a New Brunswick hospital ward. A resident surgeon,
stressed out and volatile, bursts in to berate the nurse. He throws verbal punches left, right and centre until finally another
nurse on the ward overhears and calls out "Code Pink."
"At this point, any nurse who was available on the ward would come and stand as a silent witness to what was going on,"
recounts Marilyn Noble, a professor from the University of New Brunswick who studies workplace bullying. "Suddenly [the
surgeon] would look up and there would be a circle of people watching him and ready to report him if he said anything

Noble's real-life account, though inspiring, is a far cry from what typically happens when someone is bullied on the job.
According to experts, bullies plough through office floors and push more than 75% of their victims out the company door.
The problem became so widespread during the last decade that the International Labour Office identified Canada as one
of the world's worst countries when it came to preventing violence in the workplace. What's more, that bullying has now
become four times more common than either workplace discrimination or sexual harassment.

"Thankfully," says Noble, "we're at the same place with workplace bullying that the family violence issue was 20 years ago
- we've suddenly made it discussable." Noble is working with a team of researchers to better understand what makes
workplace bullies tick and where they infiltrate. So far she has discovered them in corporations, small businesses,
hospitals, public schools, churches and even museums. What surprised her was that many of these organizations already
had anti-bullying rules in place, yet nothing was done to stop the aggressive behaviour.

According to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute, bullies control their targets through both acts of commission
(hostile verbal, non-verbal communication and interfering action) and omission (withholding company resources to
guarantee failure). Many companies in Alberta boast "zero tolerance" policies for workplace bullying. Yet, "In many cases,
we're too polite and accept inappropriate behaviour [because] we don't want to inflame the situation," says Jessie
Callaghan, a workplace bullying expert from the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ont.
This is, in part, why catching bullies is a tricky business.

Experts also contend that many targets - new employees especially - don't even realize they're being bullied because they
have a newfound dedication to the company and are busy trying to be good team players. After a while, however, a target
may begin second-guessing his or her workmanship, perhaps not noticing that a peer or supervisor is purposefully making
workloads unbearable by demanding too much. As the surrounding work environment becomes stressfully toxic, sick days
increase and a conniving co-worker or boss can make it look as though the target is a poor performer - when, in fact, the
workplace bully is using up company time and resources and setting up the target for inevitable failure.

"The bully may be very high in the food chain," acknowledges Noble. "If the CEO is the bully, then most likely the victims
have been isolated, silenced and discredited." But even if the bully is someone lower in the ranks, like a mid-level
manager, office supervisors may not know what to do unless they've been properly trained. Noble admits that office
supervisors and low-level managers might be afraid of being sued if they ignore the complaint or fire the bully, so there's a
deadlock. She says the important thing for employers to understand is that bullying can change the culture of a company,
making the workplace toxic.

In the 1980s, Heinz Leymann, a Swedish researcher, coined the term "mobbing" to describe the systematic destruction of
an individual's identity, self-respect and self-esteem through the repeated violation of their dignity in private and in front of
others. Researchers have since found that bullying may lead victims to alcoholism, substance abuse and even suicide.
But it wasn't until April 6, 1999, that Canadians really started paying attention to the severity of workplace bullying. On that
day, a former employee of Ottawa's public transport authority went on a shooting rampage that left four co-workers dead
before he took his own life. The man had been a victim of workplace bullying.

Following a coroner's inquiry, a recommendation was made to include psychological violence such as teasing and
ridiculing under the definition of workplace violence. Since then, a number of provinces have set up guidelines to address
on-the-job bullying. Indeed, adopting preventative measures has become the key to curbing bullying before it steamrolls
into violence.

On June 1, 2004, Quebec enacted North America's first anti-workplace bullying law, which could see bullies paying fines
of up to $10,000 for hostile or inappropriate comments, gestures, intimidation, threats, blackmail or coercion. Known as
the Workplace Psychological Harassment Prevention Act, this law also makes employers in Quebec liable for the cost of
psychological support and any lost wages that victims of bullying incur.

In this province, Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Code has specific policies to prevent workplace violence -
which it defines broadly as any act in which a person is abused, threatened, intimidated or assaulted in the course of his
or her employment. It requires Alberta businesses to implement a workplace violence policy and communicate it to
employees, conduct a hazard assessment of risk factors and create a method of documenting and investigating incidents.

Callaghan suggests that employers foster mutual respect between ranks and among employees, regardless of how
competitive a company is. She also recommends employers take a holistic approach by instituting a workplace bullying
intervention program and "having a reporting and investigative process where employees can report any potential
violence or harassment. Employers can then investigate and see whether it was a legitimate incident or not and take
remedial measures," she says.
Employers also have an obligation to outline the confidential process employees can rely on and ensure that victims know
that no reprisals will be made against them. Certain claims are hard to prove, however. Sona Chavda, who worked for
eight months in an upscale clothing boutique in Edmonton, says, "Retail has some of the major bullies, especially in
commission-based incomes." The most vicious co-workers, according to her, were "the ones who stole customers and
claimed that they didn't know I was already helping them." Chavda claims that she and fellow co-workers were victims of
malicious gossip - which became a major source of stress and turmoil for her.

Bullied employees waste 52% of their time at work networking for support, defending their position and dwelling on their
situation, according to the Canada Safety Council. Then there's the damaging spillover effect that occurs when
employees' marriages break down as a result of daily stress and their friendships dissolve as they obsess over their
situation. If the bullying is serious enough, the provincial health care system ends up footing the bill for stress-related visits
to the doctor, and antidepressants.

There's no doubt employers also incur high costs for having to cover for lost efficiency, absenteeism, staff turnovers and
severance packages. Ironically, though, more than 80% of bullies are managers or people in power says the Safety
Council. Most form allies up the corporate ladder in a bid for protection, but a faction are known as serial bullies who
target one employee - until that person is forced to quit - then bring down another. Though rarely psychopathic, bullying
bosses are opportunistic and cognizant of those who can be easily drummed out of competitive workplaces. They sift
through their underlings and weed out the ones who may threaten their jobs.

"There's a big cluster of bullies in supervisory positions because they have a certain amount of autonomy and are in the
best position to create situations where they can dominate," says Heather Gray, president of the Edmonton-based
consulting firm Threat Assessment and Management Associates Inc. "It's all manipulation and most often it's done under
the guise of discipline." She adds that "bully auditors" - outside agencies hired to help manage workplace violence -
sometimes discover third party bullies, where an employee convinces a manager to push around another employee.

Contrary to popular belief, up to half of all bullies are women, according to the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute.
But women are still targets in the workplace the majority of the time, as female bullies go after women 84% of the time
and male bullies go after them 69% of the time. But there's a huge difference in how each sex approaches their target,
notes Gray. "Women are typically more subtle, manipulative behind-the-scenes and influential in ways that aren't as
noticeable. Men are a little more in your face."

Bullies aren't always lurking around the company water cooler though. Many clients harass and demean employees,
especially in retail outlets, health care offices and advertising agencies. That's why Callaghan asserts, "I don't think the
client is always right. If you adopt that kind of attitude, anyone who complains about anything may expect something. And
that may be setting up employees for the potential of workplace violence or abuse."

Documentation is crucial for catching either clients or co-workers who go from being helpful to harmful. This includes
logging incidents with dates and times, saving verbally abusive e-mails and voicemail messages, keeping a list of co-
workers who are willing to come forward as witnesses and accumulating reference letters from other supervisors who can
vouch for your work. Unions may be able to help, though experts note targets should exercise care about who knows what
information as it may trickle back to the bully. Once abuse has been recorded, it can usually be easily reported.

"Now, the flip side of that is that the bully is likely also documenting because they're setting up [their own] scenario,"
warns Gray. "Bullies are very, very good at doing things that are witnessed and can be construed in a positive - or not in a
negative - way. They may even praise targets in a meeting to look like they're generous, but behind their back they're
poisoning the environment. Document anyway and there may be another forum to use that documentation, whether it's a
worker's compensation claim or a civil lawsuit."

We can’t make people like each other

But in the workplace, we can make sure no one is treated differently because of their racial or ethnic origin,
or because of gender, ability or sexual orientation.

We can‟t make people like each other.

But we can encourage workers who are sexually and/or racially harassed to speak out with the support of
their union.

We can‟t make people like each other.

But we can state clearly that our union will fight at all levels to eliminate discrimination and harassment.
We can‟t make people like each other.

But we can create a workplace free from sexism, discrimination, racism and bigotry.

We can‟t make people like each other.

But we can through concrete action, promote tolerance and mutual respect in our union.

That‟s why we have adopted policies to prohibit and prevent harassment in the workplace. And that‟s why
we have produced this workbook to help local union members address these issues step-by-step, incident
by incident, with fairness and respect for all individuals.

We can‟t make people like each other.

But we can make it clear that our union is, indeed,
Everybody’s Union.

Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

At the Steelworkers 1989 National Policy Conference, the union adopted a Policy to Prohibit and Prevent
Sexual Harassment in the Workplace. This policy adopts the definition of sexual harassment recommended
by the York University Presidential Advisory Committee on Sexual Harassment.

Sexual Harassment is:

        unwanted sexual attention of a persistent or abusive nature, made by a person who knows or ought
         reasonably to know that such attention is unwanted; or

        implied or expressed promise of reward for complying with a sexually oriented request; or

        implied or expressed threat or reprisal, in the form either of actual reprisal or the denial of
         opportunity, for refusal to comply with a sexually oriented request; or

        Sexually oriented remarks and behaviour, which may reasonably be perceived to create a negative
         psychological and emotional environment for work and study.

Just what does this mean?

Does this mean that one person may no longer whistle at another to indicate appreciation for that person‟s
looks? Yes.

Does this mean that one person may no longer touch another person without permission? Yes.

Does this mean that sexual jokes, slurs and gestures are not acceptable in the workplace? Yes.

Does this mean that pin-ups and sexual graffiti can no longer be put up in the workplace? Yes.

Does this mean that promises of promotion in return for sexual "favours" are illegal? Yes.

Does this mean that we are to treat each other with mutual respect? Yes.
Mutual respect. That‟s what it‟s all about. We work better when we work with people we respect and who
respect us. Our workplace is a healthier and safer place to be when we can concentrate on the task at hand
and not have to worry about harassment. And we are better members of our union because we can
concentrate on helping each other out on the job rather than trying to always protect ourselves.

Preventing Racial Harassment in the Workplace

Human Rights legislation in Canada defines harassment as "engaging in a course of vexatious comments or
conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome." At the 1989 National Policy
Conference, the United Steelworkers adopted the Policy to Prevent and Deal with Racial Harassment in the

Racial Harassment is:

Words or actions which show disrespect or cause humiliation to another person because of his or her race,
colour, language, religion, creed, ancestry, place of origin or ethnic origin. Disguised as a joke, subtle or
overt, these acts of harassment are offensive, demeaning, embarrassing and hurtful.

Just what does this mean?

Does this mean that ethnic, religious or racial jokes are no longer acceptable in the workplace? Yes.

Does this mean that racist graffiti and pictures cannot be put up in the workplace? Yes.

Does this mean that people may no longer "tease" a co-worker or make comments that are racially insulting
or present stereotypes of racial, religious or ethnic groups? Yes.

Does this mean that it is illegal to refuse to work with a person because of her or his ethnic background?

Does this mean that intimidating or threatening a person because of her or his skin colour, language, religion
or ethnic background is racial harassment? Yes

Does this mean that we are to treat each other with mutual respect? Yes

Mutual respect. That‟s what it‟s all about. We work better when we work with people with people we respect
and who respect us. Our workplace is a healthier and safer place to be when we can concentrate on the
task at and not have to worry about harassment. And we are better members of our union because we can
concentrate on helping each other out on the job rather than trying to always protect ourselves.

Preventing harassment based on sexual orientation in the workplace

Most Human Rights Codes in Canada prohibit harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Yet, many union members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered do not feel safe "coming out" in
the workplace or in the union. Steelworker members need to take a strong stand against the harassment
and violence faced by workers who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered.

Just what does this mean?
Does this mean that intimidating or bullying a person because of their sexual orientation is harassment? Yes

Does this mean that isolating a person because of their sexual orientation or gender identity may be
harassment? Yes

Does this mean that it is no longer acceptable to deny benefits to same-sex spouses? Yes

Does this mean that refusing to work next to someone because of their sexual orientation is harassment?

Does this mean that denying the gender identity of a transgendered worker may be harassment? Yes

Does this mean that we are to treat each other with mutual respect? Yes

Mutual respect. That‟s what it‟s all about. We work better when we work with people with people we respect
and who respect us. Our workplace is a healthier and safer place to be when we can concentrate on the
task at and not have to worry about harassment. And we are better members of our union because we can
concentrate on helping each other out on the job rather than trying to always protect ourselves.

Preventing harassment based on disability in the workplace

Changes in Human Rights Law over the last number of years have resulted in positive changes for workers
with disabilities. Employers and unions need to look at how changes can be made to workplaces and the
design of work to help accommodate injured workers and workers with disabilities in the workplace.

Just what does this mean?

Does this mean that injured workers and workers with disabilities have a right to good, safe jobs? Yes

Does this mean that jokes or gestures about people with disabilities are not acceptable in the workplace?

Does this mean that it is not acceptable to isolate injured workers or workers with disabilities? Yes

Does this mean that we are to treat each other with mutual respect? Yes

Mutual respect. That‟s what it‟s all about. We work better when we work with people with people we respect
and who respect us. Our workplace is a healthier and safer place to be when we can concentrate on the
task at and not have to worry about harassment. And we are better members of our union because we can
concentrate on helping each other out on the job rather than trying to always protect ourselves.

What is the Union Doing?

In the Workplace

        The Steelworkers Anti-Harassment Workplace Training Program has reached over 40,000
         front-line workers, supervisors and managers across the country. Sessions are delivered in the
         workplace during work hours by trained Steelworker facilitators. Video clips, a quiz and small group
         discussions help people to recognize and deal with harassment and discrimination in the
         workplace. Negotiated with employers, the program is one of the most effective steps local unions
         can take to prevent harassment and discrimination in the workplace.
        In more and more workplaces, employers and unions are setting up joint human rights committees
         to help investigate and resolve harassment complaints and conflict. Steelworkers provide training of
         the joint committees in conducting investigations and facilitating informal conflict mediation.

        Many Steelworker collective agreements now include anti-harassment policies and procedures.
         Negotiated mechanisms help to ensure a role for the union in the investigation and resolution of

        Steelworker Anti-Harassment Complaints Counsellors are available across the country to assist in
         the investigation and resolution of workplace incidents. Working along side local activists,
         counsellors support workplace efforts to challenge and stop harassment.

Workplace Bullying

Bullying is about power. The schoolyard or workplace bully controls and overpowers people with their size,
status or privilege. Bullying is an act of aggression. While bullying may not be illegal, it is wrong. Any
behaviour that intimidates, threatens and humiliates another should not be tolerated – in a schoolyard, a
workplace or in the union.

Checklist of things to do in your workplace:

    1.   Negotiate the Steelworkers Anti-Harassment Workplace Training sessions to be delivered to all
         workers in the workplace. Call your Area, District or National office for more information.
    2.   Negotiate strong workplace policies and procedures to deal with harassment. See checklist for
         policies and procedures. .
    3.   Appoint someone in your local union to deal with issues of harassment. Training and support are
         available through the union or a labour council supported union-counselling program. Make sure
         the membership knows who the person is to discuss harassment problems in the workplace.
         Contact your Area, District or National office for more information.
    4.   Copy and post on the union bulletin board the definition of harassment in this workbook or the
         Steelworkers Anti-harassment Policy, the "Yellow Sheet".
    5.   Create a supportive atmosphere in the workplace to encourage harassment victims to come
         forward so the union can help them deal with the issues. Model "respect" and "tolerance" at work,
         local union meetings and events.

Poisoned Work Environment

When harassment or conflict isn‟t handled well, the work environment can become "poisoned". Often
negative or disrespectful behaviour increases. People find ways of avoiding work and may actually feel sick
from the stress and tension in the workplace. What can start as a problem between a couple of co-workers,
spreads like poison when left unchallenged. Workers need to develop skills and confidence to deal with
incidents of harassment quickly and effectively.

WHAT TO DO if you think you are being harassed in the workplace:

        Document the time, date, and names of any witnesses and detailed information about the nature of
         the incident.
        No means no. If possible, tell the harasser to stop the unwelcome behaviour. If you are
         uncomfortable about doing that on your own, contact the member of the local union who has been
         identified as the harassment complaints person.

WHAT TO DO if you believe that a co-worker is being harassed in the workplace:
        Let your co-worker know that you‟re there to help. Offer to act as a witness if needed.
        Help them to document what has happened and support them in putting the harasser on notice that
         the behaviour is unwelcome and to stop immediately. If needed; assist them in contacting the
         correct local union executive member, steward, human rights committee person, staff
         representative or a Harassment Complaints Counsellor.
        Treat your fellow workers with respect. It is surprising how much faster and easier the job gets
         done when we work together as a team. Remember to keep things confidential.

Dealing with complaints of harassment:

Tips for Local Union Activists

1. Assure the person that you take their complaint seriously. Let them know that you are aware how difficult
it is to come forward with a complaint. Be a listener not a judge. If the situation was bothering her or him, it is
the right thing to come forward.

2. Ask if the person is comfortable discussing the problem with you. Assist them in contacting one of the
union‟s designated counsellors.

3. If applicable, provide them with a copy of the union and company policy.

4. Let the person know the options available in pursuing a complaint. These options include:

              a.   union to investigate and attempt to mediate a resolution
              b.   union to approach management to investigate
              c.   filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission
              d.   criminal or civil charges with police investigation

5. Confidentiality: Reassure the person that your discussions and their comments will not be shared with the
alleged harasser or any witnesses. If the complaint becomes a formal grievance or complaint, some parts of
the case may become public.

6. Ask the person to document the incident(s) in writing. The documentation needs to include:

              a.   time and place of the incidents(s)
              b.   names of witnesses (if any)
              c.   what the harasser did and said (word for word if possible)
              d.   what they did or said and how she/he felt about it

7. Make sure that there are some union members or community counsellors who can provide emotional
support to the person.

8. In some cases, the victim may need to take sick leave or file a workers‟ compensation claim or, if
absolutely necessary, a temporary re-assignment could be made. After discussing this with the victim, make
sure that you obtain help to facilitate this process as quickly as possible.

What is the role of Harassment Complaints Counsellors in dealing with Workplace Complaints?

Co-worker Harassment:

    1.   With the victim‟s permission, the counsellor will investigate the complaint by confidentially
         interviewing the victim, alleged harasser and any witnesses.
    2.   Counsellors attempt to mediate a satisfactory resolution. This mediation may result in an apology or
         a written agreement between the victim and the respondent. The agreement could include a
         promise that the offending behaviour not recur. Most complaints can be resolved in this way without
         any further intervention.
    3.   If attempts at mediation do not succeed, the counsellor, with the permission of the victim, will
         advise the alleged harasser in writing that the victim may file a formal complaint with the employer
         and/or human rights commission in the appropriate jurisdiction.
    4.   If the alleged harasser still does not respond to mediation or no solution is possible and/or incidents
         of harassment continue, the counsellor will assist the victim in writing a letter to the employer.
    5.   Once this letter is sent to the employer, the employer has a legal responsibility to investigate.
         Negotiated collective agreement provisions, where applicable, will be set in operation perhaps
         involving an outside Harassment investigator.

Management/Worker Harassment:

    1.   With the victim‟s permission, harassment complaint counsellor(s) will speak confidentially with the
         employer to determine whether the matter can be resolved.
    2.   If not resolution is possible, the counsellor may approach the local union to assist the victim in filing
         a grievance.
    3.   In the event the grievance proceeds to arbitration, the victim will be required to give evidence of the
         harassment. If an arbitrator allows the grievance she/he in accordance with collective agreement
         provisions, may direct the griever not be required to work with any supervisor or foreperson found
         to have engaged in harassing conduct.

In the Union

        The United Steelworkers Anti-harassment Policy or "Yellow Sheet" is read out at the beginning of
         all union events. Printed on bright yellow paper, the policy defines harassment and how
         harassment can undermine union solidarity and respect for human rights, principles fundamental to
         the labour movement. At union schools and conferences, harassment complaints counselors are
         identified in the event someone has an incident they need to be investigated confidentially.

        Issues of harassment and discrimination are now included in the union‟s education courses so
         stewards, health and safety activists, workers‟ compensation advocates, local union officers and
         negotiating teams can better handle and prevent incidents.

        Human Rights are Workers’ Rights is a course offered by the union to human rights activists and
         union leadership. The program helps activists deal with incidents of harassment and discrimination
         and work with leadership and human rights committees to challenge inequality and racism inside
         and outside of our workplaces.

        Challenging harassment and bullying does not mean shutting down respectful and constructive
         debate. Disagreements and differences of opinion can help us to find new and better solutions in
         an atmosphere of respect. Steelworkers offer support to officers and chairpeople who need some
         assistance in building and maintaining a healthy "atmosphere" at all union meetings and events.
         While it may not be easy, it is really important for officers to quickly deal with negative behaviour.
         „We can‟t make people like each other." But we can help to create an environment at our meetings
         and events where harassment and bullying will not be tolerated.

        Members of the Steelworkers are "governed" by the Constitution of the United Steelworkers. The
         constitution clearly states that no member should treat another in a way that is hurtful or
         disrespectful. In the event that a member feels they have been treated in a "non-union" like way,
         they can use the procedures outlined in the constitution to try and resolve the situation. In Canada,
         where an issue of harassment is at the root of a conflict between two members, the union‟s anti-
         harassment counsellors may help to resolve the situation in a confidential and timely manner. The
         constitution process can not be used by a member who may be "retaliating" for a grievance or
         complaint that may have been filed in the workplace.

Checklist for union activities and events:

    1.   Conduct harassment awareness campaigns through local union meetings, local union newsletters,
         forums, and guest speakers. Read out the Steelworkers Anti-Harassment Policy at meetings and if
         there are questions or incidents deal with them as quickly as possible. Set the tone for meetings to
         ensure there is an opportunity to educate members and field questions or concerns raised at the
         meeting. If there are questions or incidents it is important to act on them as quickly as possible.
    2.   Amend the local union by-laws to include policy and procedures to prevent and deal with
         harassment to ensure the elimination of harassment wherever it exits. Locals and units need to
         accept responsibility to implement the "yellow sheet".
    3.   Provide training and support to chairpeople of meetings and local union officers to prevent and deal
         with harassment.

Points to remember:

        Harassment is illegal
        Harassment devalues workers; it destroys their self worth and confidence inside and outside the
        Harassment is one person‟s attempt to demonstrate power over another person. People in lower
         paying and less secure positions - often women, visible minorities, people with disabilities and
         aboriginal people - are most likely to be targets of harassment.
        Harassment can "poison" the work environment, affecting work performance and endangering the
         safety of the work and his or her co-workers. Undermining someone‟s personal dignity and pride,
         harassment, if unchallenged, can lead to accidents and prolonged illness.
        Our goal is to achieve harassment free workplaces, union schools, and conferences.
        You may be uncomfortable when someone comes to you with a complaint, especially if you haven‟t
         dealt with such situations before. Listening to accounts of hostile, frightening interactions, which are
         hard to sort out, can be stressful for you as well. This is normal. Ask another activist to give you the
         support and information you need or call to "brainstorm" with one of the union‟s harassment
         complaint counsellors. The situation will not just go away no matter how badly you may want it to.
         The member is looking to you for help, support, and advice.
        When discussing cases of harassment, be careful to protect confidentiality. The Steelworkers anti-
         harassment policy applies to all members and officers of the union. Do not mention names when
         discussing cases. Use the term‟s "victim", "alleged harasser" and "witness". We do not have a right
         to identify someone and make him or her feel unsafe in the workplace. We need to try to keep
         discussions to those individuals who must be involved in a case and ask that conversations be kept
        If there is more than one member of the bargaining unit involved, the union has a responsibility to
         represent the interests of each of them.

Checklist for workplace policies and procedures

        Purpose of policy –This section may state that the employer and the union are committed to a
         workplace free from discrimination and harassment, and that immediate steps will be taken to
         address complaints. A clear statement of this sort can help prevent harassment and help people
         come forward if there is an incident.
        The Law – A brief overview of the law related to harassment.
      Definition of harassment – Employees need to know what is meant by harassment and the
       prohibited grounds such as sexual or racial harassment, harassment because of sexual orientation,
       disability, etc.
      Confidentiality – The policy should clearly state the importance of confidentiality in handling
      Complaint Procedures – Sets out the steps for responding to a complaint of harassment as well
       as the roles and responsibilities of the people involved. It should identify any direct action that the
       individual who is harassed needs to take to put the harasser "on notice". Any informal and formal
       procedures need to be described and the relationship of the policy to the grievance procedure.
      Time Limits – Members need to know how soon an investigation will begin, how long it will take
       and when they will be informed of the results. The sooner the investigation starts, the less damage
       will be done and the sooner people can move on from the experience.
      Retaliation – The policy should make it very clear that retaliation against an individual or
       individuals for having filed a complaint will not be tolerated. All of the good work done by the policy
       will be undone if people are allowed to retaliate against someone who has filed a complaint or who
       has cooperated in an investigation.
      Education - A policy is only words on a sheet of paper unless people know who to make it work to
       correct a problem. Include the Steelworkers Anti-Harassment Workplace Training Program as part
       of the policy as well as ensuring there is training for the individuals or committee that will be
       handling complaints.
      Monitoring – Review the policy every couple of years and make changes based on the feedback
       from employees and the human rights committee or anti-harassment counsellors.

Video’s from the Alberta Government

Library Discrimination/Sexual Harassment Videos
 HRV 007 Beyond the Open Door

              29 min. 1990 1/2" VHS

              This interesting production focuses on employment equity as it affects
              women, aboriginal people, visible minorities and the physically challenged.
              Designed to increase awareness of the need for fair treatment in the
              workplace regardless of gender, race or disability.

 HRV 075 Discrimination in the Workplace

              25 min. 1992 1/2" VHS

              This video shows you and your staff how to recognize and avoid
              discrimination and harassment of fellow employees on the basis of: sex,
              age, race, religion, disabilities and sexual orientation.

 HRV 160 Diversity - Making It Work

              14 min. 1/2" VHS

              Diversity is something that you don't have to go out and get B you already
          have it at work. But to be effective, it has to be managed. This program
          shows which diversity programs work and which ones don't. It shows how
          to link diversity with the core business strategy and how to measure bottom
          line results. Resistance is usually due to a lack of understanding. Too many
          people think that it is a race and gender related, but diversity is process B
          not a program. By bringing it home to yourself first, you will then be able to
          bring it to the workplace and value it.

HRV 213 Eliminating Workplace Bullying

          14 min. 2001 1/2" VHS

          Workplace bullying is ongoing repeated aggressive behavior that
          humiliates, intimidates and degrades. Today all organizations need to act to
          eliminate bullying, which can have serious consequences both for the
          individual and the organization. This video covers such issues as: who are
          the victims, what are the effects on the victims, what can a victim do, how
          do I know if I am a bully, and more.

VRV 205 Getting Along with Your Co-Workers

          13 min. 1998 1/2" VHS

          This program helps new and re-entry workers understand why it is
          important to behave responsibly on the job. Safety on the job and why it’s
          in everyone’s best interest to follow safety rules is discussed. Other topics
          covered include substance abuse and diversity in the workplace.

HRV 253 In This Together

          18 min. 2000 1/2" VHS

          Seven front line employees from a variety of businesses speak directly to
          their peers as they lay out the issues of respect and harassment head on.
          From dealing with gossip to being in a bad mood, this entertaining program
          uses a non-threatening opinion survey to create a safe environment where
          viewers can re-evaluate their beliefs and their actions. There is no heavy
          corporate message, but rather insightful looks at real situations that will
          lead employees to make better choices.

HRV 098 Sexual Harassment - How to Protect Yourself And ... (3 Volumes)
         1993 1/2" VHS

         Volume I

         This video series will help you and your staff understand the surprisingly
         complex and expensive problem of sexual harassment. It shows you how to
         spot warning signs of trouble, so you'll be able to resolve problems before
         they get out of hand. You'll watch realistic enactments and evaluate them.

         Volume II

         In this volume, you'll find out what steps to take to get help, if you are
         unable to handle a problem on your own.

         Volume III

         This volume demonstrates the right way to receive a complaint, how to
         investigate a complaint and what to consider in determining if a charge is

HRV 059 Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

         19:08 min. 1988 1/2" VHS

         Hosted by Hanna Gartner, this video defines sexual harassment with the use
         of dramatized sequences. Under the Canada Labour Code employers have a
         legal responsibility to provide a sexual harassment policy, to ensure that
         disciplinary action is taken in the event of a complaint, to provide a
         confidential complaints process, and to provide a work environment free of
         sexual harassment.

HRV 071 Word in Edgewise (A)

         26 min. 1986 1/2" VHS

         The use of sexism in our everyday language is an unconscious act - one that
         most of us should be more aware of. This documentary is a humorous look
         at our daily language use, the history of the English Language, and how this
         affects our vision of the world around us. Any move toward equality is
         hindered by the sex bias entrenched in our language.
 HRV 193 You Can Stop Harrassment

              1999 1/2" VHS
              Part I - 26 min.
              Part II - 25 min.

              This program is intended to encourage employees, supervisors, team leaders
              and managers in the public and private sector organizations to take
              responsibility to help en all forms of harassment in their workplaces.

Workplace bullying…different from the schoolyard variety more
analogous to domestic violence (and we want to hear from you!)

John Atkins   (North Bay ON)

  (Based on The New York Times piece by Benedict Carey,
  reprinted in The Star, July 2, 2004
                      Whereas schoolyard bullies tend to pick on the smaller or
                      weaker children, adult bullies in the workplace are just as
                      likely to pick on a strong subordinate, according to Dr.
                      Gary Namie, director of the Workplace Bullying and
                      Trauma Institute in Bellingham WA.

                 Researchers and policy makers from several countries
                 met recently in Bergen Norway to discuss the issue of
                 workplace bullying. One researcher, Dr. Calvin Morrill of
                 the University of California at Irvine, who studies
                 corporate culture puts it this way, “We’re finding that
                 some of the behaviors that we think most protect us are
                 what in fact allow the behavior to continue. Workers
become desensitized, tacitly complicit and don’t always act rationally.

While taking the lead in aggressive behaviors may be appropriate on the
football or battle fields, the rules of the factory floor and office are very
different, requiring a very different approach. And this bullying approach
has often more to do with the boss’s desires than with the employees

Dr. Harvey Hornstein suggests a supervisor may use bullying to swat down
a threatening subordinate, or a manager may be looking for a scapegoat to
carry the department’s or the boss’s frustrations. But most often, Hornstein
argues, bullies bully subordinates for the sheer pleasure of exercising
power. Hornstein, the author of Brutal Bosses and their Prey, says further,
“It was a kind of low grade sadism, that was the most common reason;
they’d start on one person and then move on to someone else.

Nevertheless, researchers find little evidence to suggest that worker productivity
suffers in the face of boss-bullying. Even in the most hostile workplace, workers are
still doing the work for which they are being paid. Some workers even give a little
extra, in the hope that they might make themselves look good and others look much
worse. (The Workplace Doctor website cites evidence that questions this, later in this

Bullying bosses are often very good at “managing up,” meaning that their reverence
for power is extended to those above them who are even more powerful.

Dr. Mark Levey, a Chicago psychotherapist, say that nasty bosses often elicit from
their subordinates defensive habits that they first developed as children, such as
reflexive submission and explosive rage. “Once these defensive positions lock in, it‟s
like people are transported to a different reality and can no longer see what‟s
actually happening to them and cannot adapt,” according to Levey.

When a boss is bullying a co-worker, there is often clear evidence that others do
nothing to support the target. (Namie prefers „target‟ to „victim‟ since it more
accurately names the situation.) Ambition (of co-workers) is the most insidious ally
of the bully, given that their self-interest motivates their passive stance.

There is some empirical evidence that workers in a nasty work environment, caused
in part by the bullying manager, tend to become less sensitive with others at work.
This dynamic researchers call “moral disengagement,” a measure of people‟s
sensitivity to others, their views on the appropriateness of jokes, put-downs,
coldness toward colleagues. Workers who work for supportive and fair bosses show a
maintenance of their sensitivity or an increase in it.

Frequently, when workers witness a boss humiliating a colleague, they are relieved
that they are not the target, and they begin to wonder if the colleague did not
deserve the treatment. In that case, in the words of Benedict, “The brutal behavior
goes unchallenged, and the target feels a sudden chill of isolation that is all too real.
By doing nothing, even people who abhor the bullying become complicit in the
behavior and find themselves supplying reasons to justify it.”

According to Dr. Morrill (UCal, Irvine), “It is those who are not part of a tight group
(of co-workers) who feel truly desperate and in danger of losing their jobs, who
appear most likely to speak up. Most others learn to perform an elaborate dance,
trying to preserve their status while being careful not to forfeit their sense of
decency all the while looking for an escape hatch.”

Some notes from the website linked to the Workplace
Bullying and Trauma Institute:

Based on U.S. figures from 2003, 58% of bullies in the workplace are female, and
42% are male.
Woman-on-woman bullying represents 50% of all workplace bullying.
Man-on-Woman bullying represents 30% of all workplace bullying
Man-on-Man: 12%
Woman-on-Man: 8%
Probability for women targets to be bullied by a woman bully is 63%
Probability for men targets to be bullied by a man is 62%.
(Note: Bullying is same-sex harassment, most of the time, and therefore invisible
when seen through the lens of anti-discrimination laws. Existing civil rights laws in
the U.S., believed by the general public to prohibit harassment, do not apply to
same-sex cases (except when unwanted sexual overtures are involved.)
Only 23% of bullies chose to do the bullying themselves; 73% enlisted other to help-
by alternately bullying the target alone (32%) and at other times having help from
others (45%)
The target‟s co-workers frequently became the bully‟s allies (48%). Women bullies
recruited co-workers a bit more than did men bullies (53% and 42%, respectively.)
Men bullies tend to rely upon management (57%) supporters as frequently as
women bullies enlist the help of the target‟s co-workers (53%).
(Note: Men bullies use the organization‟s hierarchy; women bullies use the social
network of peers to accomplish the bullying.)

A recent reliable study estimates that approximately 1 in 6 U.S. workers has directly
experienced destructive bullying in the past year.
Bullies are rarely psychopathic; the majority are opportunistic intelligently reading
the pattern of who gets promoted and who gets drummed out of our competition-
worshipping workplaces. The Bullies terrorize with impunity. The only skill
deficiencies bullies have are those of empathy, compassion and loyalty to anyone
except themselves. They are masterful communicators, albeit used solely to harm
Half of all bullies are women. Women bullies target women 84% of the time; men
bullies target women 69% of the time, making women the majority of targets in the
workplace. The vast majority of bullies (81%) are bosses, some are co-workers and
a few bully up the ladder.

Bullying poses a serious health hazard to targets by compromising their
psychological and physical health, disassembling their social network and risking
economic devastation through the loss of their jobs because “employment at will”
encourages the bully‟s misuse of power. Targets who are most surprised by the
baseless cruelty inflicted on them suffer the most severe effects (PTSD) and take the
longest time to heal afterwards. Silent frozen workers worsen the problem often by
choosing to cut off support, to tacitly or directly join the bully‟s personal vendetta
against the target. Eventually the workplace is paralyzed by fear, incapable of
productive work, and susceptible to costly downtime with an unhealthy workforce
and an increased liability for destructive employment practices.

Bullying costs your firm too much?
  Victims are often better skilled
       View Larger Image

Workplace victims often more skilled than their attackers, expert says.
Photograph by : Getty

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Businesses that want to improve their bottom line would do well to purge the bullies on
the payroll who are repeatedly ridiculing and humiliating others in the workplace, says a

Gary Namie told an overflow audience in Vancouver that people who are targeted at the
office by a supervisor or co-worker may think they're alone, but their numbers are
growing to epidemic proportions.

Namie, who co-founded the Workplace Bullying and Trauma Institute in Bellingham,
Wash., was speaking at the Western Conference on Safety.

He said a Michigan study found about one in six employees is bullied at work in any
given year.

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In Britain, about 11 per cent of people say they face psychological harassment in the
workplace, while in Australia the number is 18 per cent, he said.

But when people are asked if they've ever been bullied at work, 40 to 50 per cent of them
say they have, Namie said.

"People are getting fed up with bullying and it's got to be addressed," Namie said before
he spoke.

Quebec is the only jurisdiction in North America with legislation to deal with workplace
psychological harassment, but Namie said the law that came into effect in 2004 is too

"I think it's imprecise," he said, adding complainants must face a huge government

Those who are psychologically harassed at work are often better skilled at their jobs than
the bullies who target them but are forced to quit their jobs because they're non-
confrontational, he said.

"It's a talent flight. The best and the brightest are driven out. The slugs, the slow-minded,
dimwitted sycophants are the bully's allies."

Thirty per cent of women who are targeted experience post-traumatic stress disorder,
Namie said.
"Bullies are too expensive to keep. It's smart business to purge these guys and gals -- and
58 per cent are women."

Stephen Hill, who runs a support group called No Bully For Me, said he worked for a
non-profit organization at a British Columbia university when he was the target of
workplace bullying by supervisors and co-workers.

"You know, monkey see, monkey do," said Hill, who finally quit his job when he started
having health problems.

Hill said he would be asked to provide reports but was denied the information, was given
the cold shoulder at meetings and was repeatedly isolated.

"It's the fact that it's continuous, that's what does the damage."

Four years ago, Hill co-founded a website that became a huge hit with people across
Canada and also spawned support groups in various cities.

People often say they can't afford to leave their jobs but Hill's advice is: "Get out."

A national survey on the group's website ( appears to suggest that
most bullies are women and co-workers, not bosses, Hill said, who took two years off
from work to recover. He now helps the unemployed on the Downtown Eastside find

Renzo Bertolini, a health and safety specialist with the Canadian Centre for Occupational
Health and Safety, said it's hard to track the number of people who are bullied.

Bullying costs your firm too much?
  Victims are often better skilled

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"Not every single bullying incidence is reported because often bullying does not result in
an accident or injury and there is no compensation claim," Bertolini said from Hamilton.

The Quebec law, modelled after those in Sweden, France and Belgium, gives the
province's labour standards board the authority to order fines and the reinstatement of

The agency handles complaints from non-union employees. Unionized workers must file
complaints through their union.

Nathalie Bejin, a spokeswoman for the Quebec Labour Standards Board, said 4,700
complaints have been filed since the law was enacted.

Bejin said the board encourages businesses to prevent psychological harassment by
stepping in when conflicts arise between employees.

Ethel Archard, spokeswoman for the Canada Safety Council, said workplace bullying is a
huge issue that isn't getting enough attention, except in Quebec.

"I think the interest in the topic is shown by the fact that it is the single-most visited web
page on our entire website, so we know that people are looking for information. They're
desperately looking for information."

                                   © Canadian Press 2006

Supportive Workplace Policies, Practices and Programs

The purpose of this fact sheet is to explain the value of policies, practices and
programs that are supportive to workers experiencing the impacts of family violence
in the workplace. It also provides examples of supportive policies and practices.

The Value of Family Violence Sensitive Policies
The most valuable asset of any organization is its people. Policies and practices
that create a positive workplace incorporate the concepts of wellness, safety,
social responsibility and community involvement. A positive workplace can be
created through the development of policies, practices and programs that foster and
support these concepts.

Wellness and safety policies and programs that include information on family
violence not only support employees who are experiencing family violence, but they
also enable other employees to develop an increased understanding of their co-
workers who are in this situation. Understanding increases for managers and
supervisors as they learn more about how they can help employees deal with the
impact of family violence and improve safety in the workplace as a whole.

Supportive Policies and Practices

Consider implementing family violence sensitive policies and practices throughout
your workplace. Some programs require more planning than others; many are long-
term, while others provide immediate short-term support. For example, share safety
plan tips with your employees. (See Model Policy, Safety Plans and Messages.)

Here are some policies or programs you might consider.

Family Violence Policy
Every business and workplace, to the fullest extent possible without violating
existing collective bargaining agreements, rules or statutory requirements,
should implement a policy to deal with family violence when it spills over into
the workplace. There are many such policies available on the web. To assist New
Brunswick employers, we have adapted, and included in this Toolkit, a “Model Family
Violence Policy” that incorporates the key elements of a good policy. Try adapting it
to your workplace. (See Model Policy, Safety Plans and Messages.)

Employee Assistance Programs
Studies show that family violence prevention programs in the workplace that become
part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) are an excellent way to support
employees and co-workers who are impacted by family violence that is entering the
workplace. Your EAP may offer additional support for those living with family violence
and may include counselling, legal, medical, and financial services. Sometimes
existing EAPs do not specifically state that they offer assistance to employees who
are living with family violence at home, or workers who are affected by it at the work
site. It is important to spell out “family violence” in the policy, train your human
resources and management staff, and ensure that employees know that their EAP
can help them with this problem. (see: (French language site available)

Assaulted Staff Action Program
Some workplaces have developed a response program called Assaulted Staff Action
Program (ASAP). It is viewed as an effective response to family violence after it
occurs in the workplace. ASAPs treat the individual in the workplace where the
violent action occurred. ASAPs rely on both trained volunteer staff as well as paid
professionals. They are particularly useful in situations where a physical or sexual
assault has occurred.
Threat Assessment Teams
Employers can establish a Threat Assessment Team. TATs work with staff and
business supervisors to identify and assist staff who are experiencing family violence.
Designated trained staff contact individuals who are in daily contact with the person
who is experiencing family violence and attempt to address the problem.

Safe Walk Program
Employers can establish a safe walk program. Small groups are put together to help
walk individuals home or simply to their cars after work. A safe walk program can
help to reduce fear in the workplace as well as build personal relationships among
co-workers. (see: for an example of a
safe walk program)

Privacy Policies
Privacy issues are more apparent with increased technology use. The employer can
implement policies that mutually benefit all. Keeping confidential information from
getting out helps keep the environment safe as well as the business. Certainly
complete privacy is not obtainable with the internet and e-mail but monitoring
policies can help to avoid workplace violence and discrimination within the

Supportive Benefit and Leave Policies
Flexible and supportive benefit and leave policies may go a long way toward assisting
a victim of family violence. For example, allowing a paid or unpaid leave to someone
leaving an abusive relationship, such as woman who must spend some time at
transition house, can help that individual to become a more productive person and

Sexual Harassment Policy
Sexual harassment within the workplace can be costly in terms of morale,
productivity and turnover. Policies should help instill respect, and promote positive
response to incidents of sexual harassment, while increasing awareness and
educating employees about prevention. Moreover, employers can reduce their
liability for acts of harassment through the implementation of these policies. (see: (French language site available)

Workplace Bullying Policy
Bullying policies can help everyone in the work place understand the unique
characteristics of bullying. Bullying falls into a category of psychological abuse and
can be classified apart from harassment and discrimination because the focus and
the causes are different. Workplace bullying policies show a broader understanding
and help to ensure a healthy and productive work environment. (see: (French Language site link)

Child Care Policies
Employers can establish a number of childcare policies. For example, a daycare
facility can be created on-site or near the work place or emergency daycare can be
made available in the absence of a full time facility. Having a place for the children to
go can reduce the stress on employees and give them a sense of security. (see: (French language site available)
Given relatively recent attention given to bullying within the Canada, the legal remedies
for the victim are underdeveloped and not at all clear. Although the legal landscape may
be difficult navigate, there remain some legal avenues worth exploring, until such time as
the law catches up to the issue of bullying.

  Legal Redress
Broadly speaking there may be legal redress on civil grounds, or on a demonstration that
legislation has been willfully breached. In considering or taking such action, individuals
are strongly encouraged to consult with qualified legal counsel.

On the regulatory side, victims should consider their rights and responsibilities under the
prevailing Human Rights Code or Occupational Health & Safety Act.

  The Human Rights Code
The Canadian and Provincial Human Rights Codes protect each of us from harassment
which is discriminatory on selected grounds. The "Code" as it is commonly referred,
protects us from discrimination resulting from race, national/ethnic origin, color, religion,
age, sex (including pregnancy and child birth), marital status, family status, pardoned
conviction, physical or mental disability (including dependence on alcohol and drugs),
and sexual orientation.

Under the Code, Harassment is a prohibited activity in the context of employment. By
way of example, the following sections of the Ontario Code state:

Section 5(2) - "Every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from
harassment in the workplace by employer or agent of the employer or by any other
employee because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship,
creed, age, record of offences, marital status, family status or handicap"
Section 7(2) - "Every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from
harassment in the workplace because of sex by his or her employer or agent of the
employer or by another employee"
Harassment is defined in the Code as "engaging in a course of vexatious comment or
conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known as unwelcome". When
considered in the context of behaviour known as "bullying" there may well be some
recourse providing that the offensive behaviour can be linked to the prohibitive actions
specified in the Code.

If an individual can demonstrate that bullying is motivated by one of the prohibited
grounds the Code may apply. If you suspect that this is the case, a call to your Human
Rights Commission in your province may provide you with valuable information in
making a determination as to your rights. In addition, a consultation with a lawyer
proficient in both Human Rights Legislation and Labour Law may be of benefit. Many
provincial Law Societies have a "lawyer referral service" that can provide you with the
names and numbers of qualified lawyers in your area.

  Occupational Health & Safety Act
Each province has an Occupational Health & Safety Act which applies to employers
within the province to ensure that they provide their employees with a "safe" workplace.
Federally regulated employers are governed by the Canada Labour Code, of which Part II
is the Federal Occupational Health & Safety Act.

Part II of Canada's Labour Code which applies to federally-regulated employees was
amended and received Royal Assent in June 2000 with the intent of improving
occupational health and safety in the federal workplace. It strives to create a better
balance between the role of government and that of employers and employees, and
reflects changes in the workplace such as advances in technology that have a bearing on
employees' health and safety. Although, Regulations have yet to be issued, the legislation
is law and should be heeded by Federally-Regulated employers. Of particular importance
is a new clause which has been added allowing for regulations which deal with the
establishment of anti-violence initiatives.

The regulations as of March 2003, have yet to be issued, however, there is reason to
believe that indirect or psychological acts of "violence" may be covered. In the interim,
victimized employees should be aware of their governing Occupational Health & Safety
Act to determine if there has been a breach of this legislation within their own province.
We suspect that once the Federal Government tables its regulations regarding workplace
violence, many provinces will follow suit.

Employers have a responsibility to take reasonable care to provide their employees with a
safe workplace. Provinces currently differ in their approach to the issue of workplace
violence. B.C. and Saskatewan have clauses entrenched in their Occupational, Health &
Safety Acts which focus specifically on violence, although they differ in terms of
definitions and remedy. Other provinces are either considering this issue, or have decided
to refrain from taking such action. Recently Bill 70, a Private Members Bill , was tabled
in the Ontario Legislature addressing workplace violence, however, there is disappointing
speculation that it will not and/or has not advanced beyond first reading. Regrettably, one
might reasonably suspect that when regulations for Federally Regulated employees are
implemented the issue of workplace violence as a bonafide "health & safety" concern will
have more urgency.

Although an individual may wish to press the issue of bullying under the prevailing
Occupational Health & Safety Act of their province, one can see that there may be
differing outcomes resulting from the province's track record on this issue. In is not
uncommon for such complaints to be deferred to the Human Rights Commission for
action (Au v. Lyndhurst Hospital , Meridian Magnesium Products Limited ).
If one were to launch a compliant under the Act, or refuse unsafe work because of
bullying behaviour, one should reasonably expect protection from reprisal under the
Occupational Health & Safety Act providing that their action is not trivial or malicious.

Before considering this as a route of compliant, legal consultation should be sought to
ensure your rights and responsibilities.

  Constructive Dismissal
There is a suggestion that Bullying could, in certain circumstances, constitute "wrongful
dismissal". Generally speaking, this is defined by circumstances in which an employer,
although not acting explicitly to terminate a person's employment, acts unilaterally to
alter the employment terms and conditions such that the employee is entitled to regard the
employer's conduct as a termination. The case of Shah v. Xerox Canada is noted in this
regard when focusing on the "conduct" of the employer. Here an individual was deemed
to be "constructively" dismissed because the conduct of the employer made continued
employment "intolerable".

Again, the application of constructive dismissal varies depending on the situation and on
the conduct of the employer in question. Given the complexities of this issue, legal
counsel is most certainly required.

  Intentional Infliction of Nervous Shock
Although on the surface, this concept appears an appropriate argument for seeking
redress from the workplace bully, legal guidance is require to ensure that your situation
meets the legal test of such acts.

It must be demonstrated that the behaviour in question is "outrageous", "calculated to
produce the effect that was actually produced" and that the "conduct produced actual
harm by way of a visible illness".

As one can quickly see, there is a challenge in demonstrating any one of these conditions.
Although the task may appear daunting on the surface, some individuals have been
successful in advancing this argument. Prinzo v. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
describes a circumstance in which the actions of a supervisor and other employees were
deemed to be deliberate and resulted in emotional upset, increased blood pressure, weight
gain and an increase in the employee's diabetes symptoms. Likewise, in the case of
Boothman v. Canada the employee was awarded damages for intentional infliction of
nervous shock because her supervisor subjected her to numerous and continuous acts of
assault and intimidation. In addition, the court upheld a judgment of "nervous shock" in
the case of Bogden v. Purolator Courier Ltd sighting a confrontational and brash
management style.

These are but a few of the legal initiatives that victims have or can consider when seeking
redress in the case of workplace bullying. However, individuals should remain cognizant
that Canadian law in this arena is fluid and in a developmental phase. Prevailing law is
built on the judgments rendered in each successive case which finds its way into court.
This means that unless there are legal challenges there is little hope for change. If you are
in doubt and feel that you have exhausted all other avenues, consideration should be
made to seek the appropriate legal counsel, out of responsibility for yourself and others.
This is not the time to be a spectator when bullying and intimidation is affecting your life
or those you care about.

In many instances organizations have policies and procedures to protect employees
against harassment and other forms of abuse. One should exhaust these avenues before
considering legal action unless in severe circumstances.

Whatever route a victimize employee takes to stop the abuse and prevent the
circumstances form happening to others; ensure you take very detailed and easily
retrievable notes of all instances and efforts to defend yourself. These documents will
prove invaluable in whatever route you take to remedy the situation, whether it is through
internal channels or through the courts.

Even a Magazine

Chapter Six—Rights and Respect

―Work,‖ observed Chief Justice Dickson, ―is one of the most fundamental aspects of a person’s life…A person’s
employment is an essential component of his or her sense of identity, self-worth and well-being. Accordingly, the
conditions in which a person works are highly significant in shaping the whole compendium of psychological,
emotional and physical elements of a person’s dignity and self-respect.‖

In this perspective, the workplace is not just a marketplace — a place where services are exchanged for money. It
is also a social setting, a place where the quality of our personal and civic lives is defined. But defining the
quality of our lives has become a very complicated business. ―We‖ have changed, and so too have our lives and
our workplaces, in ways outlined in Chapter Two. So too have some of our expectations of how people ought to
relate at work.

We now accept that workers have rights, which are defined not only by their contract of employment but also by
laws such as the Canada Labour Code. Under Part III, those rights include entitlements to pay, leaves, vacations
and holidays — generally expressed as minimum rather than ―best possible‖ standards — as well as the right not
to be unjustly dismissed. Of course, these minimum entitlements may be enhanced by employers on the basis of
additional terms agreed to by workers or their unions; and they generally are.But ultimately, it is the law — not
the employer’s enlightened self-interest or generosity — that grounds the claim of workers to decent minimum
employment conditions, and it is the right to be protected from arbitrary or unjust dismissal that gives the law
force and effect.

It is widely understood that people who are poor and insecure tend to suffer more violations of their rights than
those who are not, and that such people are at a disadvantage when they have to claim or defend their legal rights
in general, and their human rights in particular. Because Part III has to do with improving material conditions
and reducing insecurity in the workplace, in a sense the overall effect of Part III is to enhance the human rights of
However, the human rights of workers are not simply those enumerated in Part III. Because everyone has an
even more fundamental claim to be treated with due regard for their ―dignity and self-respect,‖ all Canadian
jurisdictions have enacted human rights legislation to ensure that no one suffers discrimination at work based on
race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, disability or other invidious grounds. They have also enacted
collective bargaining, privacy, health and safety and other legislation designed to protect workers’ ―dignity and
self-respect‖ in the broadest sense. However, I have no mandate to conduct a general review of all such
legislation. Accordingly, the prime focus of this chapter is the intersection of human rights and labour standards.
This involves three separate issues.

First, while the human rights of workers are greatly advanced by the protection against unjust dismissal that
Part III provides, problems may arise when human rights and labour standards enforcement procedures overlap.
Second, there may be a need to harmonize certain substantive provisions of Part III with the requirements of the
Canadian Human Rights Act (CHR Act). Third, one particular work-related issue of ―dignity and self-respect‖ —
bullying in the workplace — has so far not been addressed either by the CHR Act or by other federal legislation.
These issues are covered in succeeding sections of this chapter.

Workers have long enjoyed the right — in principle — to sue civilly if they are unjustly or wrongfully dismissed.
However, for reasons explored in Chapter Eight, they were left without practical recourse unless they worked
under collective agreements that authorized their union to carry their grievance to arbitration. In 1978, the
situation changed dramatically for unorganized workers in the federal domain when they gained the right to
challenge their dismissal before an adjudicator appointed and paid for by the state — a right enjoyed even now
by unorganized workers in only two other Canadian jurisdictions. This innovation was not only a significant
enhancement of workers’ employment of their rights under Part III but, I argue, also a contribution to their
human rights.

First and foremost, the very fact that federal domain workers have access to an effective means of challenging
their dismissal enables them to assert all of their statutory and contractual rights — including their human rights
— with greater self-confidence. Now, under Part III, they actually have access to remedies that are equal, or in
certain respects superior, to those they might invoke in conventional court proceedings. Not only can they
recover greater damages than courts usually award ordinary workers, they can also seek reinstatement, a remedy
denied them altogether in civil litigation.

Second, as the jurisprudence has been developed by adjudicators under Part III, employers seeking to justify the
dismissal of employees must generally demonstrate that they have adhered to the principles of progressive
discipline. That is, they must show that they have attempted to deal with disciplinary or performance problems
by pointing them out to the employee, working with the employee to rectify them, and imposing a graduated
repertoire of sanctions before resorting to the ultimate sanction of dismissal. The evolution of this jurisprudence
coincided with, reinforced and arguably brought about a significant change in the thinking of human resource
and industrial relations (HR/IR) professionals who now commonly adhere to similar principles even when not
subject to external scrutiny. Both the adjudication jurisprudence and the new HR/IR philosophy have enhanced
the likelihood that workers will be treated more respectfully and fairly.

Third, the introduction in 1978 of procedures for the adjudication of complaints against unjust dismissal made
available to non-unionized workers rights that had long been available to their unionized counterparts. Because
large numbers of women and members of minority groups work in non-union federal enterprises, such as banks,
this legislation contributed in an important way to achieving greater overall equality among Canadian workers.

Recommendation 6.1 The present provisions of Part III that permit workers to challenge their unjust
dismissal and to receive effective remedies if they have been wrongly dismissed should be retained.
Recommendation 6.2 All employers in the federal domain should adopt procedures and practices for
dealing with employee discipline that are based on the principles of respect for the individual, are
corrective rather than punitive in character, and are fair.

Despite these very positive contributions of Part III unjust dismissal proceedings to the human rights of workers,
difficult issues remain at the interface between the two legal regimes.

Employees may believe, or at least allege, that they have been unjustly dismissed or denied other rights under
Part III, and that they have also been the victims of a human rights violation. They may therefore wish to bring
proceedings under both Part III and the CHR Act.

There are obvious reasons to prevent workers from bringing multiple proceedings, whether they are concurrent
or consecutive: the cost and inconvenience for the employer, the possibility of using the first proceedings as a
dress rehearsal for the second, the risk of inconsistent results, and especially dissipation of the scarce public
resources available to both labour standards and human rights agencies. At present, it is difficult, if not
impossible, for an employee to bring two proceedings. On the one hand, Part III denies employees the right to
complain of unjust dismissal if an alternative remedy is available under some other federal statute, even if that
alternative is not as beneficial from the employee’s point of view. This statutory rule has been complemented by
the refusal of adjudicators in unjust dismissal cases to permit multiple proceedings. On the other hand, the CHR
Commission and CHR Tribunal have committed themselves to legal doctrines and administrative practices that
largely deny access to complainants who have chosen to litigate the same matter in another forum.

However, the present arrangements may be unfair to employees. After all, most workers do not have and cannot
afford lawyers, and if forced to elect between proceeding under one statute and the other, may be unable to make
an informed choice. Moreover, while the Part III and human rights complaints may each have something in
common with the other, each may also be somewhat distinctive in certain crucial respects. Because the legal or
factual issues that are ―distinctive‖ can be resolved only in the particular forum empowered to deal with them, if
forced to make a choice between Part III and human rights remedies, the employee may never be able to secure a
full and fair hearing of their claim.

I believe that a more nuanced approach ought to be taken under both statutes,one that would prevent multiple
proceedings, but would still ensure that legitimate claims are fully considered one way or another. This can be
accomplished only by way of a cooperative effort by the Labour Program, the CHR Commission and the
CHR Tribunal.

Recommendation 6.3 The Labour Program, on the one hand, and the Canadian Human Rights
Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on the other, should enter into a memorandum
of understanding (MOU) to deal with complaints that may involve concurrent or consecutive
proceedings under Part III and the CHR Act. The MOU would define a common approach to such
proceedings, and would:

    a.   provide simple, clearly written advice to complainants concerning the limits and possibilities
         of each type of proceeding;
    b.   require that complainants make an election in writing to proceed either under Part III or under
         the CRH Act, and be advised of the consequences of doing so;
    c.   confer discretion on decision-makers in all three agencies to transfer evidence and
         documents from one to the other, and confer the power to use such evidence and documents
         in a subsequent proceeding;
    d.   confer power on each agency to deny complainants access to the others if it finds that no
         reasonable grounds of complaint exist or that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious; and
    e.   confer power on each agency to transfer the case to the other if it finds that reasonable
         grounds of complaint do exist that lie within the jurisdiction of the agency to which the case is
If necessary, power to enter into such an MOU should be conferred on the Minister responsible for Part III and
the Minister responsible for the CHR Act, and appropriate amendments should be made in Part III and in the
CHR Act to enable an MOU to be given effect.

Part III makes only a few explicit references to matters covered by human rights legislation. It protects the right
of workers to take and return from maternity leave and job-related sick leave, and to have their special physical
needs accommodated. Under the CHR Act, denial of these rights might be construed as discrimination on
grounds of gender or disability. Part III requires employers to adopt a plan to deal with sexual harassment in the
workplace — conduct that is also dealt with under the CHR Act. And Part III permits (but does not require)
Labour Program inspectors to notify the CHR Commission if they uncover apparent violations of pay equity

Under the CHR Act, the CHR Commission can recommend that an order-in-council be enacted assigning duties
and functions of the Commission ―in relation to discriminatory practices in employment‖ to persons
administering Part III. No such order-in-council has been made to date. This provides some indication that the
people who know the human rights field best feel that out-sourcing of responsibility to the Labour Program
would not be desirable.In short, a relatively clear line has been maintained between the administration of labour
standards legislation on the one hand, and the administration of human rights legislation on the other.

A number of briefs presented to me argued that human rights concerns should occupy a much more prominent
place in the scheme of Part III than they do at present. Several urged, for example, that human rights should
constitute a specific labour standard violation that would give rise to remedies under Part III. The integration of
human rights and labour rights regimes has also been endorsed by the Supreme Court of Canada, and by both
federal and provincial legislation.

Nonetheless, I am not persuaded that the wholesale importation of substantive and procedural rights from one
regulatory regime into the domain of another is in the best interests of either. The CHR Commission and the
CHR Tribunal possess a wealth of expertise in the human rights field. They have statutory powers to deal with
discrimination and related issues, with appropriate policies and procedures in place to handle them. If different
complaints-handling procedures were introduced and authoritative interpretations of legislation were issued by a
different group of officials, the outcomes would likely be quite different and possibly less appropriate.
Second,the resources presently available to the Labour Program are at best barely sufficient to enable it to
properly discharge its existing responsibilities under Part III. Unless substantial new resources were provided, the
labour standards regime would be seriously undermined if Labour Program staff were obliged to perform
additional duties under human rights legislation.

That said, it makes little sense for the two regimes — human rights and labour standards — to operate in
complete isolation, much less in opposition. On the contrary, with proper preparation, the cause of human rights
in the workplace might well be advanced by the participation of Labour Program staff who are familiar with
employment practices and relations and who understand the challenges of securing compliance in the workplace

Recommendation 6.4 The Labour Program and the Canadian Human Rights Commission should
discuss possible cooperative strategies to advance the cause of human rights in the workplace. Their
discussions should address: (1) the need to respect the prime mandates of both agencies, (2) the
importance for any joint initiative of personnel with expertise in both workplace relations and human
rights, and (3) the need to ensure that all cooperative strategies are supported by adequate resources.

Pending the outcome of such discussions, three issues require attention. The first relates to the existing
provisions of Part III requiring all employers to adopt a plan to deal with sexual harassment. This requirement
obviously advances an important public policy that I would not wish to undermine in any way. However, the
provision in its present form is somewhat problematic. It seems odd that employers should be required to adopt
policies that address only sexual harassment and not racial or religious harassment, not harassment on grounds of
sexual orientation and not, for that matter, other forms of workplace discrimination forbidden under the
CHR Act. Moreover, the Federal Jurisdiction Workplace Survey revealed that some 80% of employers in the
federal domain — most of them small enterprises, but some much larger — are operating in contravention of the
law and are without a sexual harassment policy. This discouraging statistic raises for me the awkward question of
why a seemingly sensible strategy for advancing important human rights concerns has been ignored by so many
employers. Perhaps part of the explanation is the somewhat anomalous location in Part III of the requirement,
where its implementation depends on staff that have no special training in human rights.

As recently as 2000, the La Forest Report, Promoting Equality: A New Vision, recommended establishing
committees in every workplace with a broad mandate to promote human rights including, presumably, sexual,
racial and other forms of harassment. However, the primary custodians of human rights— the CHR Commission
and the Minister of Justice (who is responsible for the CHR Act and its administration) — have not yet seen fit to
adopt this recommendation. Had they done so, I would have had to consider whether the Part III provisions
requiring sexual harassment plans ought to be replaced by new, more comprehensive arrangements, either in the
CHR Act or in Part III itself. However, given the lack of government action on the La Forest Report, it seems
sensible on balance to leave the present provisions in place pending the outcome of the Labour Program–CHR
Commission discussions recommended below.

Recommendation 6.5 The Labour Program and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and the
Ministers responsible for both, should discuss whether to leave in place the present Part III provisions
dealing with sexual harassment, to expand these provisions to include harassment on other grounds
forbidden by the Canadian Human Rights Act and/or other discriminatory employment practices, or to
consolidate and administer all such provisions under the CHR Act.

They should also address the La Forest Commission’s proposal for workplace human rights committees, either
under Part III or under the CHR Act.

Appropriate legislative or administrative action should follow.

A second set of human rights issues flows from the premise that Part III ought not to permit or, worse yet,
require, conduct that transgresses the CHR Act or the principles it embodies. This implies that Part III ought to
encourage employers to accommodate the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce. For example, workers
may need a day off in order to participate in religious or cultural observances that do not fall on existing statutory
holidays, many of which have their origins in the Christian religious calendar. Aboriginal workers or immigrants
from distant lands may need longer bereavement leave than Part III now allows. New mothers may need special
breaks to facilitate the breast-feeding of their infant. Changes along these lines are recommended in
Chapter Seven.

Additional changes may be necessary, as well. For example, Part III requires employers to accommodate
pregnant women or those who have recently given birth by reassigning them to work that does not threaten their
health or that of their foetus or child, if it is ―reasonably practicable‖ to do so. This may be a somewhat lesser
requirement than that established by the CHR Act, which imposes on the employer a duty to accommodate the
employee’s needs up to the point where doing so would involve ―undue hardship.‖ Similar considerations apply
to workers returning to their jobs following a work-related illness or injury or following sick leave. In all these
cases, only detailed technical analysis will reveal whether Part III actually does impose a lesser standard of
accommodation than human rights legislation — but if it does, Part III will have to be amended. To set the stage
for this analysis, I recommend adopting the following principle:

Recommendation 6.6 The Labour Program should ensure that Part III is drafted, interpreted and
administered in such as way as to advance the principles embodied in the Canadian Human Rights
Act as well as to comply with its specific requirements.
Of course, formal workplace arrangements or informal practices established by the parties may also provide
something less than the standard of accommodation for women, disabled persons and other groups mandated by
the CHR Act. They should be analysed by the parties and revised, if necessary.

Recommendation 6.7 Employers and workers should respect the principles of the Canadian Human
Rights Act and adjust their workplace agreements and practices accordingly.

Furthermore, the successful harmonization of human rights with labour standards legislation requires a detailed
review not only of Part III and the CHR Act, but also of legislation that provides workers with income
replacement or equivalent financial support. For example, while childbearing women and disabled persons are
entitled to leave under Part III, many are able to take full advantage of that entitlement only because they receive
income support under the Employment Insurance Act. Similarly, in Chapter Seven I recommend the introduction
of new categories of unpaid leave; and in Chapter Eleven I discuss the possible introduction of unpaid
educational or training leave. However, unless Employment Insurance is amended to provide income support for
workers who take leave under these new provisions, few are likely to do so.

Recommendation 6.8 The federal government should review the extent to which existing programs of
income support are consistent with provisions designed to protect new and prospective mothers, ill
and disabled workers and other categories of workers protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act.

A final issue relating to human rights has to do with an existing provision under the Act that permits Labour
inspectors to report violations of the pay equity provisions of the CHR Act. For example, while reviewing an
employer’s records to determine whether employees were paid less than the minimum wage or improperly
denied overtime, an inspector may discover that women have been paid less than men for work of equal value.
Rather than disregarding the information, the inspector ―may‖ notify the CHR Commission (the body responsible
for pay equity legislation). Arguably, unless authorized to do so by such a provision, inspectors would be
restricted to using information they obtain only to enforce the statute under which they are appointed.

The logic of this provision is clear but it is also truncated. Several submissions and research studies suggest that
employers who are tempted or driven to deliberately disregard Part III might be tempted or driven to disregard
other legislation as well. For example, we were told that some employers fail to remit statutory Employment
Insurance premiums or withholding tax to the Canada Revenue Agency, despite making deductions for this
purpose from employees’ pay. But employers may be encouraged to comply with all work-related statutes if they
knew that such violations were likely to be detected and reported as a result of regular Part III inspections or
audits. However, given the small cadre of personnel available to conduct Part III inspections in thousands of
federal business premises spread across a huge country, I hesitate to suggest that Labour inspectors be required to
audit the employer’s overall record of compliance each time they respond to a complaint or conduct a routine
inspection of records. On the other hand, if apparent work-related illegalities do come to their attention,
inspectors should be authorized to pass the information along to the appropriate regulatory agencies. This
approach requires that the current permissive statutory language be broadened.

However, this broader approach raises an issue of considerable sensitivity. In the course of their regular duties,
inspectors may also learn that an employer has hired illegal or undocumented immigrant workers. Such workers
are notoriously vulnerable to exploitation because their fear of discovery and deportation leads them not to
complain if their workplaces are dangerous, their pay falls below the minimum or their vacation or overtime pay
is withheld. Nonetheless, at one point U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) inspectors routinely reported them to the
immigration authorities. However, in 1998, following a complaint under the North American Agreement on
Labour Cooperation, the U.S. DOL announced that its duty to protect vulnerable workers took priority over all
other considerations, and it ceased to report illegal immigrants.
Recommendation 6.9 Part III should be amended to provide that inspectors who have reasonable
grounds to believe that an employer is violating the Canadian Human Rights Act or other work-related
federal legislation be given discretion to notify the relevant authorities.

Human rights violations are not the only assaults on their dignity that workers may encounter on the job. In fact,
the workplace is an especially likely venue for unpleasant and hurtful encounters. Employment relations, after
all, are typically hierarchical. Workers have to obey orders and rules that they sometimes find distasteful, but
seldom have any way to challenge their content or the manner in which they are conveyed and enforced.
Moreover, people often work under stressful conditions which, from time to time, give rise to conflicts among
workers, between workers and employers, or between workers and third persons, such as customers. In this
context, things may be said or done that are highly inappropriate and hurtful.

In general, these difficulties have a way of resolving themselves. People will work best, will work most
cooperatively, when they are treated respectfully. Employers know this; co-workers know this; customers and
other third parties know this. They also know that if people feel themselves abused they will find overt or subtle
ways to resist or to strike back, often with negative consequences for the enterprise, for other people and even for
themselves. Consequently, most managers try to avoid being overly ―bossy,‖ with a view to minimizing the
resentment of subordinates; and most workers or third parties try to negotiate inevitable disagreements without
giving offence, and to apologize if they become abusive in the heat of the moment.

However, in some cases, sensible behaviour does not prevail; bullying, harassment and abuse do occur; and
workers suffer injuries to their dignity and, sometimes, to their physical and psychological well-being. Quebec
has recently adopted legislation that requires employers to take measures to prevent such behaviour and provides
remedies for victims. A research study undertaken for the Commission by Prof. Colleen Shepard suggests that
this legislation is having a positive effect, although employers from Quebec and elsewhere maintained during our
hearings that it was having, or would have, unintended and deleterious consequences. Time will tell which of
these positions is correct. For the present, it seems to me that a different approach is more appropriate.

Assaults on a worker’s dignity add stress to the victim’s working life, impair their capacity to function
effectively, damage their future prospects at work, and — as Chief Justice Dickson noted — potentially injure
them in all aspects of their life. Sometimes abusive behaviour gives rise to a reasonable fear of injury. In extreme
cases, it may trigger a series of actions that result in actual injury to the victim or, in retaliation, to the harasser.
Recognizing these dangers, the federal government is already in the process of introducing regulations that will
deal with actual or apprehended violence in the workplace. With appropriate modifications of language, these
regulations could cover harassment, bullying and abuse.

Recommendation 6.10 The federal government should modify the language in its pending regulations
on actual or apprehended workplace violence to include serious harassment, bullying and abuse.

While it is not inappropriate for these regulations to be adopted under Part III,I feel, for reasons that follow, that
they should probably be associated with Part II, which deals with occupational health and safety.

Given their potential psychological and physical effects on the victim, harassment, bullying and abuse are closely
analogous to other stress- or injury-causing agents, such as toxic substances, unsafe machinery or dangerous
work practices — all of which are dealt with under Part II. Of course, the analogy is not a perfect one, and
appropriate adjustments in legislative language may be necessary if the approach of Part II is to be successfully
adapted to protecting workers against these newly acknowledged workplace hazards. For example, it may be
necessary to ensure that Part II deals with serious or repeated abuse in the workplace rather than isolated
incidents of incivility.

Moreover, like other occupational hazards, harassment or bullying should be the subject not only of remedial or
punitive action after the fact but also — and more importantly — of appropriate prophylactic measures. Part II
places prime responsibility on the employer to anticipate workplace hazards, if possible, and to remove them, if
necessary. However, it also ensures that workers have a role to play in developing an appropriate workplace
environment that reduces hazards and promotes health and safety. Having in place a system of internal
responsibility involving both workers and employers is an appropriate means to deal with workplace abuse,
bullying and harassment, any of which may emanate from members of either group. Finally, Part II establishes
the right of the employee to refuse unsafe work, ensures that such refusals are dealt with promptly and
objectively, and deters false allegations of unsafe work for ulterior motives. It makes sense to adopt similar
measures relating to abuse, bullying or harassment. No one should be forced to choose between living in constant
fear of such behaviour and quitting their job.

Recommendation 6.11 Part II of the Canada Labour Code should be amended to define abuse,
bullying or harassment in the workplace as an occupational hazard, and to establish appropriate
procedures for forestalling and responding to such conduct.

Ask an expert
Key considerations in implementing workplace harassment policies • The federal privacy legislation and its impact for
third-party administrators

By Peter Israel

Key considerations in implementing workplace harassment policies

Question: We would like to institute a workplace harassment policy in our organization. What are some of the key
considerations in implementing such a policy?

Answer: The Ontario Human Rights Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act recognize harassment as a violation of
human rights. Accordingly employers have a responsibility to provide employees with a workplace free from
harassment as a result of any of the enumerated grounds of discrimination — race, ancestry, colour, marital status,
same-sex partnership status, family status and disability.

The courts have held there is a fundamental implied term of any employment relationship that employees will be
treated with civility, decency, respect and dignity. Employers also have an obligation to prevent workplace bullying
and other forms of general harassment in addition to preventing harassment due to any of the enumerated grounds of

Workplace harassment policies provide a relatively quick and simple way of protecting employees from harassment. In
some provinces, human rights legislation even goes so far as to specifically impose liability on employers for the acts
of its employees. Proactive steps by an employer to deal with workplace harassment may have an impact on a court’s
decision regarding the appropriate remedy to be awarded to a victim. It is advisable therefore, for employers to institute
some form of workplace harassment policy.

Workplace harassment policies should, at a minimum, provide the following:
•an explanation of the underlying philosophy of the policy;

•some definition of the prohibited conduct;

•a warning on penalties that will be invoked for a violation of the policy;

•a method by which employees can raise issues of harassment in either a formal or informal manner;

•a procedural guideline for filing a complaint; and

•an outline of what might occur once a complaint has been filed.

Designing and instituting the policy is only the first step for employers. Once a workplace harassment policy is in
place, the employer must ensure employees are knowledgeable about it. Employers should distribute the policy to all
employees, and have it posted prominently in the workplace. It may also be necessary to provide an in-house training
awareness program to ensure all employees are fully knowledgeable about the policy.

Supervisors and managers must also be knowledgeable about the policy. They are expected to be able to recognise and
control the harassment and to implement the policy. Most importantly, these individuals must be informed of how to
proceed if an incident of harassment occurs. If a complaint is made, managers and supervisors should be advised to:

•respond to the complaint in a timely fashion;

•measure the reported behaviour against the harassment policy and determine whether an investigation is warranted;

•if merited, immediately select an independent and experienced investigator; and

•ensure that the investigator meets with the complainant and the alleged harassor to conduct a thorough, timely and
confidential investigation.

The federal privacy legislation and its impact for third-party administrators

Question: How does the federal privacy legislation affect the employer-employee
relationship? I am specifically interested in how this legislation may affect an employer's
handling of employee personal information, disclosed to third-party administrators for the
purposes of such things as benefits, payroll and pensions?

Jan. 1, 2004, marked the final phase in the implementation of the federal Personal
Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). What impact does this
legislation have on employers?

The answer is, simply, probably less impact than you have been led to believe. PIPEDA has
applied to employers, who are federally regulated, since Jan. 1, 2001. If your employees are
subject to the Canada Labour Code, then PIPEDA already applies to their employee personal
information. With respect to federally-regulated entities (typically in the transportation,
communication or banking sectors) PIPEDA applies to information generated from interactions
with employees and dealings with customers.

With respect to provincially regulated businesses, PIPEDA does not apply to employee
information. PIPEDA is limited to commercial activity. But it is important to note there has
been some debate as to whether or not it will apply to the employment relationship in
provinces, such as Ontario, that have not passed substantially similar legislation. The
consensus is that until substantially similar legislation is passed in a province, PIPEDA will not
apply to the handling of employees' personal information in provincially regulated workplaces.
The reasoning for this is twofold. First, it is arguable the definition of "commercial activity" is
not broad enough to include the collection of personal employee information that is only
incidental to whatever commercial activity an employer is engaged in, such as payroll
information. Second, while the federal government has constitutional jurisdiction to pass laws
that relate to trade and commerce and to matters of an inter-provincial nature, the provinces
have authority over property and civil rights. Arguably, this means the federal government
lacks jurisdiction to regulate privacy issues between employers and employees in a provincial

Nevertheless, employers should recognize that privacy legislation is coming to all provinces –
it‟s a matter of when, not if. It is also clear that PIPEDA will be the model for the provincial
legislation. Therefore there is a practical benefit for employers to implement compliance
measures now in an effort to anticipate the types of changes every organization will eventually
have to have in place.

With respect to the question regarding the provision of employee information to third-party
administrators, we suggest the following. Employers who use an external company to process
payroll and benefits will arguably have to ensure the information provided to these outside
providers is necessary information. Employee consent should be obtained to provide this
information to these third parties.

Employers should take steps to receive assurances from third-party benefit or payroll service
providers that they are complying with the requirements of PIPEDA and not, for example,
using the address information they have obtained to create and sell mailing lists or target
customers for other services that they, or an associated company, may provide.

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