Blog Post

The Health and Safety Costs of Workplace Bullying

Some people may think that bullying is something doesn’t happen past high school, but according to a recent study by careerbuilder.ca, nearly half of Canadians surveyed said they felt bullied at work. The study, which asked more than 550 workers, also reported that nearly half of those victims did not confront their workplace bully and did not report the incident.

TOP 10 WORKPLACE BULLYING COMPLAINTS
1. Standards or policies are applied inconsistently among workers: 50%
2. Being ignored: 49%
3. False accusation of mistakes: 47%
4. Constant criticism: 36%
5. Job performance belittled during meetings: 30%
6. Work performance suffers when co-worker neglects their own duties: 30%
7. Target of gossip: 29%
8. Co-worker steals credit for work: 25%
9. Yelled at by boss in front of co-workers: 24%
10. Excluded from projects or meetings: 22%

(Source: CareerBuilder.ca survey)

What people don’t realize is that bullying results in actual, real health-related issues on and off the worksite. Research out of Simon Fraser University in British Columbia has linked workplace bullying to psychological complaints, depression, burnout, anxiety, aggression, psychosomatic complaints and musculoskeletal health complaints and notes that mental health claims are the fastest-growing category of disabilities among Canadians.

One of the main problems with work-place bullying is no one realizes or notices it happening if it isn’t reported. When there is a workplace accident, everyone stops what they’re doing and focuses their attention on whomever is injured. This isn’t so with work-place bullying. And not only that, a lot of workplaces actually discourage a victim speaking up!

Despite all this, there are solutions. Gayle Joyes-Bond, of the OH&S policy and program development, outlined what an effective anti-bullying policy would entail:

MAIN ELEMENTS OF AN ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
• Clear message that harassing behaviour will not be tolerated
• Clear and complete definition of harassment
• Description of proper business conduct and expected behaviour
• Explanation of workers’ responsibilities
• Explanation of the complaint investigation procedure (e.g., who conducts the investigation, when and how investigations are conducted, parameters and importance of confidentiality, timeframe for filing, where and how long records are kept)
• Possible consequences for violations
• Consequences of filing a malicious or frivolous complaint
• Support systems for a victim of harassment (e.g., employee and family assistance programs)

At Taurus, we do exactly what is recommended in this outline. We go over our harassment policies with each new hire during orientation and make it clear from day 1 that harassment and bullying is not to be tolerated at Taurus Projects. We explain what are the responsibilities of a worker when they witness bullying in action. We thoroughly explain the procedure of forming a bullying, violence, or harassment complaint. We encourage or employees to speak up when they see someone being harassed, victimized, or bullied.

When it comes to bullying, making it known that communication is both welcomed and encouraged, is the key to a great anti-bullying policy!

We hope this helps and as always, stay safe!

For more information on bullying, here’s a great place to start! http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/bullying.html