Workplace Bullying: What It Is and How to Handle It

Workplace bullying is a growing problem in Canada. According to a Canadian Labour national survey, 7 in 10 workers have experienced a form of harassment and violence at work. Nearly 1 in 2 workers have experienced sexual harassment and violence in the last two years. As a consequence, 88% of workers who experienced harassment and violence were “transferred, suspended, fired, or lost a shift” due to the harassment and violence. 1 in 4 who reported said that reporting made the situation worse.

What is workplace bullying?

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety defines workplace bullying as acts or verbal comments that could psychologically or “mentally” hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. It can involve negative physical contact. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or patterns of behaviour that are intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people.

Workplace harassment is defined in the OHSA (Ontario Health and Safety 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” and includes workplace sexual harassment.

In other words, workplace bullying is a form of harassment that can take many different forms, from verbal abuse to sabotage. It’s important to remember that workplace bullying is not the same as occasional conflict or constructive criticism; rather, it’s a pattern of behavior that is intentional and designed to harm the victim.

Effects of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying can have serious consequences for both the victim and the company as a whole. Victims of workplace bullying often experience symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, including anxiety, insomnia, depression, and flashbacks. In severe cases, victims may even attempt or commit suicide.

In addition to the emotional toll it takes on victims, workplace bullying can also lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and high turnover rates. When employees feel unsafe or unhappy at work, they’re not going to be performing at their best. In fact, a study by the WBI found that 62% of targets said they lost work time due to stress, and 41% said they lost work time due to absenteeism. turnover rates were also significantly higher among targets of workplace bullying; 74% of targets who left their jobs did so because of being bullied.

How to Handle Workplace Bullying

If you are being bullied at work, there are several steps you can take to address the issue. First, document everything that is happening. Keep a record of dates, times, witnesses, and any other relevant information. This will be helpful if you decide to take formal action against your bully.

Next, try talking to your bully directly. This may not always be possible or appropriate, but if you feel comfortable doing so, it may help resolve the issue quickly and amicably. If talking to your bully doesn’t work or isn’t possible, you can also talk to your HR department or another supervisor in your company.

Filing a formal complaint is usually a last resort, but it may be necessary if other methods haven’t worked. When filing a complaint, be sure to include all of the documentation you’ve gathered about the incidents in question. You should also be prepared for the possibility that filing a complaint could make the situation worse; sometimes, bullies will retaliate against their victims after a complaint has been made.

Workplace bullying is a serious problem that can have severe consequences for both victims and businesses alike. If you are being bullied at work, there are steps you can take to address the issue; start by documenting everything that is happening. You can also try talking to your bully directly or talk to HR if you feel comfortable doing so. Filing a formal complaint should be done as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted since there is always the possibility that things could get worse after taking this step.

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