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Workplace bullying will hurt your business

Workplace bullying has not been widely recognised and defined as a form of harassment and unfair discrimination until the publication of the Draft Code of Good Practice on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work (access it here).



Bullying is a specific type of harassment that involves unwanted conduct in the workplace, which is persistent or even a single incident which is serious and insults, demeans, humiliates, lowers self-esteem or self-confidence or creates a hostile or intimidating environment or is calculated to induce by submission or by actual or threatened adverse consequences, which includes the abuse of coercive power by either an individual or a group of individuals in the internal or external workplace or by an external client.


In a nutshell, it’s terrible treatment of an employee that leads to long-term difficulties. It leaves scars.


While it is true that resilience is important, bullying will break down even the strongest employee and intervention is critical. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety says that bullying can have the following effects on a workplace:


  • Increased absenteeism.

  • Increased turnover.

  • Increased stress.

  • Increased costs for employee assistance programs (EAPs), recruitment, etc.

  • Increased risk for accidents / incidents.

  • Decreased productivity and motivation.

  • Decreased morale.

  • Reduced corporate image and customer confidence.

  • Poor customer service.


Does that sound like something an employer can afford? It shouldn’t, and bullying should not be tolerated. It is important for employers to have policies in place that deal with both the perpetrator, but also assistance for the victim of the bullying to deal with the psychological effects that bullying has.


Gone are the days of the scary CEO. Long live safe, healthy workplaces.


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