What can a victim of employment bullying do?

According to the Canada Safety Council, one in six people nationwide, including in Alberta, have been the victim of bullies in the workplace. Bullying involves the repeated negative behaviour of one person toward another in the workplace. The harm caused by employment bullying is typically more psychological than physical. It usually takes on a verbal form and is often well-disguised and difficult to recognise.

This behaviour can involve discrimination, sexual harassment and more. It often causes mental, financial and physical harm. It may include rudeness, disrespect and hostility along with abuse of power, intimidation and threats. Bullies are often supervisors, managers, colleagues or clients, and their behaviour can cause emotional damage that may affect the victim’s work performance — causing additional stress.

The best response by a victim of bullying is to avoid being alone with the abuser and to report the problem to a supervisor. If the perpetrator is a supervisor, it might be necessary to go one step higher and report the issue to the human relations department or the company owner. In many cases, nothing is done about the problem when it is reported because it is so difficult to prove without physical evidence.

Victims of workplace bullying in Alberta who are unable to resolve the issue internally are free to seek the help of an experienced employment law lawyer. Any factual records about the instances in which the bully targeted the victim will help the lawyer to pursue legal recourse. In some cases, the mere fact of seeking assistance may convince the bully to cease such behaviour, but if necessary, the lawyer will be ready to take the case to court.

Source: alis.alberta.ca, “Bullies at Work: What to Know and What You Can Do“, Accessed on June 16, 2017

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