Workplace Harassment And Bullying

Workplace Harassment And Bullying
Workplace Harassment And Bullying

Workplace Harassment And Bullying

What Defines Workplace Harassment And Bullying?

Before we jump into the legal aspect of Workplace Harassment And Bullying, let’s see how they are defined:

Harassment in the workplace is defined as physical or verbal abuse using actions or comments that can hurt or isolate any person in the workplace.

Unfortunately, when these actions occur they are often based on many – often inborn – factors. These can include race, colour, religion, sex, gender, gender identity, nationality, age (often 40+), physical or mental disabilities or genetic information. These factors are all something that a person cannot change about themselves. They shouldn’t have to tolerate being belittled or abused over them.

While harassment is more clear-cut in what someone is often targeted over, bullying has a much greater range of factors. This spans from creating and spreading malicious rumours, to withholding necessary information or emails. Bullying is often a series of incidents that follow a common behavioral pattern. It is used to offend, belittle and humiliate the victim.

Workplace Harassment And Bullying as a legal matter

Before seeking legal counsel for workplace harassment and bullying, be sure to research what qualifies as a legal matter. The[1] Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) does a great job of outlining what is not included in harassing or bullying behaviour. Things such as expressing a different opinion, offering constructive feedback and micromanagement of an under-performing employee are not a form of bullying.

With this information, there are instances when harassment in the workplace becomes unlawful. A drastic instance of this is when an employee is forced to endure the offensive conduct as a means to continue employment. If this is the case, a line has been crossed and legal counsel should be sought out.

However, an all too common instance is when the offensive conduct becomes so severe that any reasonable person would find their workplace to be intimidating, hostile, and/or abusive.

The effects of Workplace Harassment And Bullying

The effects that harassment in the workplace goes much deeper than just creating a negative work environment.

Spawning from this conduct are many emotions and psychosomatic symptoms that can create mental health issues in the victim. The CCOHS mentions how these can include:

  • Shock and anger
  • Feeling of helplessness and frustration
  • Panic and anxiety over the thought of attending work
  • Inability to concentrate and loss of confidence

However, that is just on the individual scale and how it affects the employee. Looking at the bigger picture, there are effects that create issues in the workplace as a whole. Issues such as:

  • Increase in lateness, or absenteeism
  • Increase in stress
  • Increase in costs for employee assistance programs
  • Decreased productivity and morale
  • Reduction in corporate image or reputation
  • Poor customer service

Things to keep in mind

If you are faced with any kind of harassment in the workplace – keeping in mind what is outlined in the CCOHS – be sure to document all of it. With documenting it all, you make it easy for yourself. Especially when meeting with Human Resources or the person in charge of dealing with this in your workplace policy.

If you are faced with these issues, and your concerns are being minimized by those in charge to help, then seeking employment legal counsel or contacting [2] Ontario’s Ministry of Labour should be your next option.

The workplace should be an inclusive and comfortable place. No employee should ever be made to feel uncomfortable or abused at work. Yet, it still happens and it is all too common.

Finding experienced and reputable lawyers in Toronto and lawyers in Vaughan is made easy, with Hummingbird Lawyers LLP’s two locations. Choose the location most convenient to you, and our staff are ready to assist you with your legal matters.

If you find yourself dealing with harassment at work and nothing is being done about it, then contact a Toronto employment lawyer at Hummingbird Lawyers today to request a consultation to see what your next steps should be.

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References and Footnotes

  1. OSH Answers Fact Sheets, Bullying In The Workplace
  2. Ontario's Ministry Of Labour contact information

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  1. Avatar photosays: Christie O'Reilly

    I have been harassed in the workpace at several jobs, weird I know. I am not insane. However, my current employer verbally/sexually harassed me daily, almost all throughout my shift, a few girls came to my neighbors house and went “I dunno go kill yourself..”
    umm credit card fraud. Someone else who may have been Corey GM or someone else said I thought it was credit card fraud like that’s an excuse it’s slander. The other girl Ashley said defamation and I said “yes if you’re stalking me ,sure.” I was venting about it. She also said “fit,” “fit,” and was vicious to me at our place of work talking about things no one should know about, yet they do and she physically intimidated me, laughed at me and it, called me a loser over and over again with a young hostess. I was/am scared to death of her and she stalked me on top of it all. A manager Tim threatened me. The manager told me to “stay the f away from him, not to go near him or else” He dead also admitted that I knew exactly every harassment comment I heard I knew was happening with Tyler and the kitchen staff who said sexual comments at me. A manager Patrick Duff sexually harassed me, told me to go have sex with someone. He knew/knows what was/is going on and denied it. After I reported to the Hanover police what was happening the managers just retaliated bc I filed a police report and when I was told I could not return to work until I heard from the owner or general manager (which) I doubt I will ever hear from, I went back to the police and told them they retaliated and completely denied everything. I am going to the Hingham District Court tomorrow for a Harassment order. On top of that I need to sue them civilly for severe emotional distress, libel/slander defamation, wrongful termination I am sure and possibly violation of my constitutional rights bc of the private information they talked about, a tv show I was binge watching, medical records, a porn site I used and phone texts. One girl and the chef said I did drugs, most said I watch baby porn, “he won’t let me masturbate how mean,” “pay child support,” which was a confidential zoom meeting settlement conference I had just had, which because of harassment at work places I am delinquent in… a few things after and the manager dead denying anything happened said “can we stop talking about porn,” a conversation I had in my house…… I pulled in as a reaction to the constant intimidating, true and untrue comments and it was always pointed out thus making me continue to do it as a result of verbal assault. Happy to provide all information to you. This could be the Father of our son’s doing or a direct violation of my constitutional rights. Either way I need to sue the restaurant for SEVERE EMOTIONAL DISTRESS ETC…

    1. Avatar photosays: Hummingbird Lawyers

      Thanks for your message.
      It would be better to reach out directly to our employment lawyer.

      Please get in touch with our employment lawyer, Amiri Dear at:
      Phone: 905.731.1911 x227

      Thank you.