Workplace Bullying: Where Can You Turn To?

Workplace Bullying

If you think you’ve outgrown and left the bully back in the schoolyard, think again. That bully is now wearing a tie and carrying a briefcase. In fact, that schoolyard bully just morphed into something more sinister – he or she is now your boss or co-worker.

Workplace bullying is often called the “silent epidemic.” The helplessness, frustration, and stress often take their toll leading to serious illness, not to mention, mental and emotional trauma. In truth, the effects of workplace bullying are not restricted to the bullied. Management and the company also suffer economically with the loss of a good worker. Productivity suffers as more often than not, the bullied employees are the most productive and knowledgeable about the job.

Unfortunately, countries such as the United States still lack the necessary laws that cover bullying. Unless the bully physically assaults or sexually harasses the employee, in the eyes of the law, there’s nothing that can be done.

If you are being bullied, where can you turn to?

Workplace Bullying Institute (US)

The Workplace Bullying Institute is an advocacy group lobbying to get the Healthy Workplace Bill to pass into law. It’s a bill that addresses “abusive work environment” different from harassment and other existing labour laws. Why do workers and employers need this new law? According to their 2010 national survey, 35% of workers have experienced bullying and bullying is four times more prevalent than harassment. Furthermore, in their 2007 study, it was found that 44% or nearly half of the organizations with incidents of bullying did nothing to address their employees’ grievances while 18% actually retaliated against the employees who reported the incidents.

Employees and employers may visit their website to gather information from preventing bullying to providing solutions to workplace bullying. There is helpful information that includes signs and symptoms of bullying, economic and health impact of bullying, rational action plans to stop bullying, list of professionals who can help, and more.

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)

Even in Canada, known for politeness, 40% of Canadian workers per week experience workplace bullying. This figure comes from the European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology published in 2006. The surprisingly high number may have triggered the passing of Bill 168 also called Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act (Violence and Harassment in the Workplace), passed in 2009. Bullied Ontario workers now have a better legal ground to stand on in a worst case scenario. The law specifies the responsibilities of the employers with significant consequences for non-compliance.

Workers in Canada may seek the help of CCOHS for information on workplace bullying and other types of workplace health and safety issues. Consult with them via their online inquiries form. According to their website, services are free and confidential.

Other Workplace Bullying ResourcesBullying Stops Here

AlbertaAlberta Learning Information Service

Alberta’s government site includes essential information and a list of services for professionals experiencing workplace bullying and harassment. According to the website, if the bullying is triggered by discrimination based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, etc. you may be covered under the Alberta Human Rights Act. You may visit their site at or call their toll-free number, 310-0000 and enter 780-427-7661 for north of Red Deer or 403-297-6571 for Red Deer south.

Ontario Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL)

While the ministry prefers internal resolution of the complaint, the bullied or harassed employee may seek assistance of their nearest MOL office. Visit their site for the complete list of offices and contact information.

British ColumbiaMinistry of Labour Employment Standards Branch

The site offers a Self-Help Kit for employers and employees, who are unable to resolve disputes internally. Complaints such as bullying and harassment may go through the process of investigation, mediation and adjudication depending on the merits of the case and the parties involved.

QuebecCommission des normes du travail

The province headed the fight against workplace bullying with the passing of the ALS legislation or the Act respecting Labour Standards in 2004. In it, the government addressed the issue of psychological harassment. The Commission des normes du travail offers a comprehensive information kit for French-speaking Canadians that would help them fight and prevent bullying.

ManitobaWinnipeg Health Region

The Winnipeg site contains helpful tips and information on how to stop and prevent bullying. Click the link for the Region’s Respectful Workplace Policy to see further resources including contact information of organizations that may help you.

For more information, read our previous post about workplace bullying.



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  1. One of the drawbacks of workplace bullying is that it lowers work productivity and efficiency in an organization. Checking for workplace bullying incidents and punishing people who take to bullying is one way to stop this kind of violence at the workplace.

    • Annaliza Vasallo says:

      I agree with you, totally. It’s unfortunate though that in some countries, workplace bullying is not in the agenda, especially when it comes to policies. In most cases, it’s up to the companies to be proactive in preventing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

  2. cheryl sibany says:

    workplace bulling is not only distructive to productivity it spreads – and can ruin the positive teamwork needed to really get work done well – people avoid interacting with others on every level the result – Good people leave!

    • Annaliza Vasallo says:

      You’re right, Cheryl. Workplace bullying should be stopped as soon as it’s reported to minimize the damage to the team. It’s sad that more often than not, it’s the good people that leave instead of the toxic bully. The team is left demoralized and productivity often suffers.

  3. I had a work related injury a few months ago. Peace of an equipment fail on my head casing my broken nose and concussion. By my family doctor and a few other specialist I was forbiden to drive any vehicle at all due to my very strong symptoms of dizziness, headache, balance problems etc . While I was on WCB and on rehab program, my Terminal manager called me and ordered me to come instantly to see him at his office, to sign some documents which are telling him that I’m clear to start with driving truck and I’m able to drive the semy truck and trailers professionally as I was able before my injury. I told him that must be something wrong about that, but he repeted that again. I was harassed before by same manager and even terminated ones, so I expected that could be some of his tricks again. Next day I reported everything to my case manager at WCB and she was shocked with what I was teling her. She contacted the company and asked for an investigation. Same manager provided a letter on which an other manager stated that he was in Terminal manager’s office when the Terminal manager was talking with me and he did not hear that he said anything like that at all. However this letter is not signed by that person. So it could be written by same terminal manager or fake witnessing by an other one. I sent a few e-mails to that Terminal manager asking him can he stop harassing me and provide Harassment free enviroment at my work once I come back to my modified duty. Based on my e-mails sent to him he sent his concerns to president of HR of the company, who terminated my employment recently. My Union is fighting for me to get me my job back, but the company is protecting that manager and his concerns. So my question for anyone who can help is how to deal with these kind of violent management, how to stay safe on the road when I as an injured truck driver have to deal with such a violent manager. Let say because of my sections of memory lost which are sometimes happened with me, if I’m traped by his tricks and pushed to drive truck, and while driving a truck if I make an accident, who would ever suspect him as one who is most responsible for that crime???
    What would be the best to do in this case?


    • Annaliza Vasallo says:

      Hi Peter,
      I sympathize with your plight. It looks like you’ve followed the prescribed process in dealing with this issue but got nowhere. It might be wise to seek the help of an attorney who specializes in labour laws. There are pro-bono lawyers you might want to consult with such as in Alberta and in Ontario.

      I hope this helps. I wish you all the luck!

      • Hi Annaliza and thank you very much for your advice. Today is May 5 2014, and I’m still nowhere. Seams that union is ot duing anything. I did complain to Human Rights, but they are slow too.

  4. Alfreed says:

    Peter, Thank though for making others aware how to save themselves from these erroneous people.
    I hope , you literally reached better results from your report being bullied at work.
    As I am currently writing this comments on this site, I burst out with eye’s tear and asking my self why do I came to the place where people judge other people in term of their color but not through their behavior or performance at work. To compare what happened to you with what occurred to me in work my place;
    I would first put a few details about myself.
    I am an immigrant to Canada and a third year student in Memorial University of Newfoundland. Since 2012 , I started work in local restaurant ,10 minutes walked to my own resident and approximately 28 minutes on foot to university. As a person of color in Newfoundland ( I perceived it in this alternate because the way people treat me including females denoted that I am some one whose color is different from their ow).
    To explain all the incidents starting from 2012-2014, then it would take thousands pages, so, I want to explain only what happened on 20 May,2014 when I quit the job.
    I will finish it tomorrow , I can’t see , more tear in my eye.

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