Everyone deserves to have a work environment that is free of harassment and bullying. Unfortunately, workplace bullying and harassment does commonly occur. If you find yourself in a situation where you are a victim of workplace harassment, you may be wondering what legal options are available for you.
The good news is, you do have rights. And here is what you need to know.
What is workplace harassment and bullying?
Generally speaking, workplace bullying includes acts, comments, or conduct made by one individual towards another that can be reasonably characterized as unwelcomed conduct. It is conduct is usually repeated over time. When an employee stands up to such behavior they may be further ridiculed or even threatened with disciplinary action or even job loss.
Workplace bullying should not be confused with constructive criticism about the job you are performing or disagreement concerning a key aspect of your work.
It is also important to note that workplace bullying can come from anyone. It may come from a manager or supervisor but it can also come from a co-worker. Workplace bullying may include some or all of the following:
- Your manager openly attacking you in front of your co-workers or subordinates.
- Your manager or supervisor changing the conditions of your employment without your consent.
- Your employer deliberately leaving you out of discussions that concern your job.
- Your employer setting unreasonable expectations.
- A manager or coworker spreading gossip about you.
- Your manager allowing you to be bullied or ostracized by coworkers.
- Any comments, conduct, or actions that make the work environment toxic.
What is my employer’s responsibility when it comes to workplace bullying?
In addition to having a duty not to harass you or bully you, your employer also has a responsibility to protect you from others who might bully you in the workplace or impact your personal sense of safety. This includes protecting you from other superiors, co-workers, and even disgruntled customers or others that might come onto the worksite and harass you.
To do this, your employer should have anti-bullying and anti-harassment policies in place and there should be training provided to all staff in how to handle harassment if and when it occurs. If your employer is unable to provide this training themselves, they should retain an HR professional or labour consultant who can assist with this.
What should happen if workplace bullying occurs?
The steps that should occur to address workplace bullying must be outlined in your employer’s anti-harassment policy. The policy should be known by all employees so that they know what is expected. The steps will likely vary by company depending on the size of the organization, the nature of the business and so forth.
Once a complaint is lodged, the employer has a responsibility to follow through with the subsequent steps outlined in the policy to protect the worker, investigate the allegations, and correct the situation.
What should I do if I can’t get help at work?
If you are the victim of workplace bullying and your employer will not (or they are the problem), do not quit your job as this will only make it difficult to make your case. Instead, contact an employment lawyer immediately. Keep records of conversations and incidents of bullying and keep files of any emails or correspondence that might prove you are being bulled.
Let your lawyer know the situation and advise you on the best legal recourse of action.
Contact Minhas Lawyers today.
You have a right to feel safe and secure at work. If you are being bullied or harassed, contact us today to speak with an employment lawyer.
Minhas Lawyers LLP is a multi-practice law firm based in Mississauga. We advise and represent clients across various segments and practice areas.
Follow Us On
Monday – Friday:
9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday - Sunday:
Book Appointments Only
Phone and Fax