Twenty three per cent of Canadians say they have experienced workplace harassment, according to a recent poll commissioned by Queen’s University School of Business.
This represents a drop from 28 per cent reported in a similar poll just two years ago.
“It’s encouraging that incidents of workplace harassment appear to be declining,” says Dr. Jana Raver, Associate Professor at Queen’s School of Business. “It suggests that recent legislation and increased education against workplace harassment in Canada is helping. However, the fact that roughly one out of four people still admit to experiencing it personally is hardly cause for a celebration
Considering the significant health risks linked with harassment it should be cause for concern.
Affected workers suffer varying degrees of stress that can cause anxiety, sleep disorders, depression and other mental injuries. Stress is also a significant contributing factor to other health impacts ranging from the common cold and musculoskeletal disorders to heart disease and cancer. Further still, harassment can be a precursor to physical violence.
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 comments, hostile actions, bullying or cyber-bullying and the posting of offensive pictures.
Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act
) places significant duties on employers relating to workplace violence and harassment
. Chief among these obligations is the requirement to develop and implement workplace violence and harassment policies and program(s). To this end the employer must also provide all workers with information and instruction on the content of the workplace policies and the hazard control measures and other procedures outlined in the programs designed to implement the policies.
The Workers Health & 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 workplace prevention 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 access the WHSC violence and harassment resources?
For additional information contact the WHSC and ask to speak with a training services representative.
Want to know more about the harassment poll from Queen’s University?