“NO ONE SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO HARASSMENT OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE OF ANY KIND IN THEIR WORKPLACE.”
Well said, Honourable Patricia Hajdu.
You might think I am about to jump on the bandwagon of the legions of women who have been sexually harassed and are now coming forward. I’M NOT – but those women have my undying gratitude and respect for having the courage to stand up and put their own reputations on the line while trying to bring justice to those who have abused their power…for years…and years…
BUT LET’S BE CLEAR – JUST BECAUSE THE HARASSMENT IS NOT SEXUAL IN NATURE, IT IS NO LESS HEINOUS…
Minister Hajdu was mandated by the Prime Minister to ensure that federal workplaces are free from harassment and violence. To start the discussion, Canadians were invited to participate in an online survey along with a series of roundtable meetings that included both labour and employer organizations, federal government departments and agencies, academics and advocacy groups.
THE FINDINGS STATE THAT HARASSMENT WAS THE MOST COMMON TYPE OF INAPPROPRIATE WORKPLACE BEHAVIOUR EXPERIENCED BY RESPONDENTS – A FULL 60%, COMPARED TO 30% WHO REPORTED SEXUAL HARASSMENT, 21% WHO EXPERIENCED VIOLENCE AND 3% SEXUAL VIOLENCE.
When you hear the term bully, you likely envision kids in a schoolyard but it’s those kids who grow up to be The Workplace Bully. Workplace harassment is a serious problem that deeply affects the mental, physical and potentially, the financial health of the target. It is definitely under-reported, often due to fear of retaliation.
Workplace bullying is a repeated pattern of negative behaviour aimed at a specific person (the target). It is often psychological and can be hard to recognize; subtle rather than direct and verbal rather than physical.
In its most basic form, workplace harassment involves:
- rudeness and hostility that disrespects the target
- threats and intimidation, including the abuse of power
- deliberate acts that interfere with the target’s work
The STEREOTYPICAL BULLY is easily identifiable; he is the nasty, arrogant boss or coworker who is habitually critical, domineering and controlling. His aggression makes him easy to spot and understand, though not any easier to deal with. The target is not usually alone in recognizing this bully; others do as well. While they may not aid in the daily struggle, at least they are not undermining the attempts to fight back.
The bully that I know is a SKILLED BULLY; who cleverly disguises his true nature under an image of success and leadership. He is highly ambitious but needs the co-operation of others to achieve his goals. So he charms others for the purpose of controlling them and uses camaraderie to encourage loyalty. Simultaneously, he preaches teamwork and professes values to enhance his reputation. He is a master manipulator constantly using stealth and deception to influence the thinking of those around him. And he does all of this while intimidating, undermining and slandering everyone who stands in the way of his self-serving ambitions.
THE PERSON WHO BULLIES ME:
- Is charming to others, exuding warmth and friendship while telling jokes and stories. He makes people feel important by offering attention and approval
- Is obsessed with how things appear to others. He uses words to create an image of integrity and leadership in order to prevent others from discovering the disturbing truth about his character
- Creates his own reality with him as hero and others as the villains
- Suppresses the truth by omitting significant information that would explain the situation and reveal the underlying reality
- Is evasive and avoids the truth about his behaviour. He acts confused by complaints about his mistreatment of people.
- Plays the victim in order to manipulate others into submitting to his desire much like a con man steals from a good samaritan
DO YOU RECOGNIZE HIM??
A BULLY IS A BULLY IS A BULLY…
If you are an employee suffering harassment at work, NOW is the time to stand up and speak out. It is no longer acceptable that employers sweep this reprehensible behaviour under the rug. Times are changing and we should be part of it!
If you are an employer, it is not your job to rehabilitate the offender. It is your number one mandate to ensure that you protect your employee’s health, safety, and rights in the workplace.
PLEASE, LET’S START A CONVERSATION AND PUT AN END TO ALL TYPES OF BULLYING AND HARASSMENT!