Workplace bullying and harassment is a safety and health issue that can compromise the mental and physical health and safety of Employees. To ‘harass’ means to engage in a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably be known to be unwelcome.
Bullying and harassing behaviour can include:
• verbal or written abuse or threats;
• personal ridicule;
• malicious or uncalled for interference with another’s work;
• spreading malicious rumours; etc.
Reasonable day-day actions by a manager or supervisor that help manage, guide or direct employees or the workplace is not harassment. Appropriate employee performance reviews or discipline by a supervisor or manager is not harassment.
Bullying and harassment affects people differently. Reactions may include one or
any combination of the following:
• impaired concentration or capacity to make decisions, which could lead to safety hazards (such as lack of attention when working with dangerous equipment);
• distress, anxiety, sleep loss or the potential for substance abuse;
• physical illness;
• reduced work performance, etc.
Bullying and harassment can also effect the overall workplace and may include:
• reduced efficiency and productivity, due to poor staff morale;
• increased stress and tensions between employees;
• high absenteeism rates;
• higher turnover, resulting in higher recruitment costs;
• higher levels of client dissatisfaction; etc.
Employer duties include the following:
• not engaging in bullying and harassment;
• developing a written policy and action plan to prevent harassment in the workplace;
• developing and implementing procedures for reporting incidents and complaints
Employee duties include the following:
• acting in a reasonable manner in the workplace;
• reporting if harassment is observed or experienced
• complying with the employer’s policies and procedures on bullying and harassment.