Workplace harassment litigation is on the rise in Canada in the last few years: experts estimate 40% of Canadians are bullied at work. Together with victims of gender and 'race' (see our Glossary) discrimination, as well as of discrimination in other prohibited areas, victims of bullying are being left without other avenues besides the courts. Being unionized does not necessarily help. Some Canadian institutions, including crown corporations, federal public security organizations, and big-box stores, have recently been rocked by accusations of harassment, bullying, gender discrimination, or worse, sexual assault.
In British Columbia, workers would be hard pressed to take comfort in the 'new' anti-bullying rules that came into effect in November of 2013. Lawyers themselves state Canadian legislation lacks teeth, and, as with sexual assault, targets are re-victimized whether they go to court or not. The pattern is that victims lose their jobs (or quit to save their health), but bullies don't, employers don't act, and victims have difficulty finding other employment, having been branded 'troublemakers'.
Tell your bullying story, and hear so many others in the room tell theirs, especially among women. This would indicate an epidemic.
According to a 2014 survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute in the U.S.:
- 31% of workplace bullies are women
- 68% of them target other women
- female targets of female bullies lose their jobs 89% of the time
- 72% of employers deny, rationalize or defend the abuse
Unlike schoolyard bullies, who target those deemed 'inferior', workplace bullies actually target those deemed 'superior'. Apparently, workplace bullies act out of insecurity, and target co-workers they feel threatened by (consciously or unconsciously), such as those with higher qualifications, more experience, or better social skills. In Canada, EQ, emotional intelligence, remains something only talked about, but not screened for in hiring.
Check out this story covered by the CBC:
and the Workplace Bullying Institute for all kinds of information and help:
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