Forty-five percent of Canadian workers report being bullied on the job, according to a 2014 nationwide survey.
Many of those who reported being bullied suffered in silence. Just 44 per cent say they reported the bullying to the employer. Of the workers who did come forward, half said nothing was done to address the bullying
. One in four chose to leave their job because of the bullying.
“Our results showed that, despite the prevalence of workplace bullying, many workers do not come forward to report it, and many of those who do feel their complaints aren’t heard,” says Mark Bania, director, CareerBuilder Canada who commissioned Harris Poll to conduct this bullying survey. “Workers should feel comfortable coming forward if they feel they are being bullied, and employers should take these complaints seriously
, as they can lead to larger problems that affect not just the individual employee, but the entire organization.”
In fact, Ontario employers must take these complaints seriously.
Workplace harassment is clearly defined in Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Ac
t (the Act
) as “engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.” This might include insulting or intimidating conduct or comments, hostile actions, bullying or cyber-bullying and the posting of offensive pictures. It often involves repeated incidents or patterns of behaviour intended to humiliate, degrade, threaten, intimidate and/or offend the victim(s).
places significant duties on employers relating to workplace harassment and violence
. Chief among these obligations is the requirement to develop workplace violence and harassment policies. They must also develop programs to ensure these policies are implemented. This must include measures and procedures for workers to report incidents and how they will be investigated and addressed.
Employer must also provide all workers with information and instruction on the content of the workplace harassment and violence policies and the programs designed to implement the policy.
The Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) can help.
The WHSC offers a three-hour Workplace Violence and Harassment Prevention Training
program designed to help workplace parties better understand workplace violence, harassment and bullying and to fully comply with the obligations required under the Act
The WHSC also offers compliance checklists for both employers and workers and fact sheets on workplace violence, harassment and bullying.
Want to read more about the 2014 Canadian workplace bullying study?
Want to know more about the legal obligations of employers governed by Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act?
Want to access the WHSC violence and harassment resources?
For additional information about workplace violence and harassment training or information contact the WHSC and ask to speak with a training services representative.