February 28th is national Pink Shirt Day, a day when we’re all encouraged to wear pink to symbolize that we do not tolerate bullying. Bullying and harassment are not exclusive to the school yard – they are also workplace issues. Bullying may include intimidation tactics, degrading or humiliating comments toward a person or group of people, aggressive words or actions, name-calling, insults, vandalizing, sabotaging someone’s work, and spreading malicious gossip or rumors. Bullying effects everyone in the workplace because it impacts morale, a sense of safety and general well-being, productivity, and employee retention rates. At worst, it can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts by a person who is repeatedly the target of bullying.
If you feel that you are being subjected to any form of bullying or harassment at work:
- Seek support at work from a trusted colleague, supervisor, union rep, or human resources personnel.
- Seek support from one of our counsellors at Upper Island Counselling.
- Tell the bully/harasser to stop.
- Keep a written record detailing as much as you can about the incident(s), including the date, time and what happened; the names of witnesses; and, the aftermath of the event.
- Keep copies of all letters, texts, memos, e-mails, faxes, etc. received from the harasser.
- If your harasser is criticizing you in any way (including the quality of your work), ask for a written explanation qualifying the criticisms and keep all correspondence related to your work.
- Report the harassment to your manager or your human resources department. If your concerns aren’t taken seriously, take them up with someone at a higher level of management.
- Call WorkSafe BC’s prevention information toll-free line 1-888-621-SAFE (7233).
In every place of work, procedures should be clearly in place for reporting incidents and complaints and for preventing and minimizing future incidents.
On February 28th and all year long, let’s practice kindness and consider ways in which we can promote and maintain a positive, respectful, open and honest atmosphere at work. We spend a lot of time on the job. The healthier the communication and climate is at work, the more satisfied and productive we will be.
Toward a Respectful Workplace: a Handbook on Preventing and Addressing Workplace Bullying and Harassment (see https://www.worksafebc.com/en/resources/health-safety/books-guides/a-handbook-on-preventing-and-addressing-workplace-bullying-and-harassment?lang=en).