Bully Employers Beware: More Bad News
More bad news for employers who choose to ignore accusations of workplace bullying. In a recent news report out of Canada, a major award was made to a target of workplace bullying. This is of keen importance to US and multinational employers because, like it or not, the US, Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand are all competing for the category of “biggest awards for ignoring bullying”. While Canada has more proactive legislation outlawing bullying behavior, even they lag behind to deal with the reality of bullying consequences in the workplace. However, the winds of change are upon us.
Of additional significance is that this case did not require that the target be in a “protected category” such as gender, age, race, or religion. That is, the court recognized that bullying behavior was enough to justify awarding damages.
One way to mitigate potential damages in your workplace is with appropriate progressive policies, effective investigations, and the right type of interventions, in particular coaching which is designed specifically to deal with bullying and other types of conflict situations. And remember, do not define the bullying narrowly. Intimidation, shouting, angry abusive words, even if not aimed at only one person or sustained over time, will all be seen as unacceptable behavior. It’s just a matter of time, and it is your dime!
I’m Kathleen Bartle, a strategic consultant on workplace conflict to executives worldwide for more than 20 years. My work brings individualized solutions to your teams’ lost productivity, loss of key personnel, low morale, and the high costs resulting from bullying, abrasive behaviors and interpersonal workplace conflicts. You can contact me here.
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