Addressing the issue will only make it worse
This is a troubling attitude I hear expressed by many of my clients.
Here are just a few concerns raised by participants attending my workshops on workplace harassment and violence prevention:
- “I don’t want to rock the boat.”
- “I know I should report it to my supervisor, but it would be career-limiting.”
- “I manage over 50 people, I can’t respond every time someone feels harassed.”
- “Oh sure, I speak up but when the time comes nobody else supports me.”
I empathize with my participants. In the real world, there certainly is a risk involved when coming forward with concerns or allegations of abuse, harassment or violent acts happening in the workplace.
There is a naive perception among many workers, including managers, that the easier route is to “sweep it under the carpet”—to pretend the abusive behaviour is not there and hope it will go away. But both occupational health and safety and human rights legislation prohibit reprisals, threats and intimidation against a person for exercising their rights. Employers can face stiff financial penalties for permitting this unacceptable behaviour. For example, in Curling v. Victoria Tea Company, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal awarded a young woman $17,600 after her employer threatened her for filing a human rights complaint.
Just in case you honestly believe it is easier to just “sweep it under the carpet” follow the links below for some eye-opening information on failing to effectively deal with workplace harassment and violence.
Learn don’t litigate
- Reporting and addressing workplace harassment and violence is now a legal obligation, not a choice
- Employers must have harassment and violence policies in place
- Your policies must outline how an employee files a complaint
- Employees must be trained on the above policies and procedures
- All employees must be aware that threats, intimidation and reprisal against a worker for exercising their legal rights will not be tolerated
Learn don’t litigate