We all know bullying isn’t confined to the playground – the cruel behaviour creeps into offices all across Canada and poisons once-productive workplaces – but what’s the best way to handle such a sensitive issue?
Here, labour and employment lawyer Ellen Oakes Thompson goes over the legal expectations governing employers when it comes to workplace bullying and offers advice on identifying, addressing and ending harassment.
“Conduct that may constitute workplace bullying falls on a wide spectrum, from isolated incidents to prolonged campaigns, from the seemingly innocuous to the extreme and vicious,” explains Oakes Thompson.
According to Thompson, bullying can occur between superiors and subordinates (flowing in either direction), between co-workers, through direct or online conduct, and within or even outside the workplace itself.
Regardless of the individual situation, employers are responsible for taking appropriate action to provide a safe workplace and for enforcing related policies, she stresses.
Thompson went on to warn employers to watch out for the following forms of bullying: