How rampant is harassment?

By Carola Mittag

Posted Mar 4th, 2020 in Tips & News

A significant cause of work stress is aggressive behaviors in the workplace…

Workplace harassment is one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management, because a significant source of work stress is associated with aggressive behaviors in the workplace.

There is no way to know for certain just how rampant various types of harassment are in the workplace. Undoubtedly, many go unreported to employers or the Human Rights Commission. Others are adequately handled by employers without the need for outside intervention.

Many workers experience workplace harassment - demeaning, abusive, or authoritarian behavior perpetuated by coworkers or even employers. Yet studies show that less than one in 10 victims of workplace harassment let the offending person know that they don't like it.

Employees are far less productive in the workplace when they don't take action against harassment issues. Several strategies offered by workplace experts and employment lawyers can help you deal with workplace harassment and bullying behavior.


What to Do!


Let the Bully Know the Behavior is Unwelcome

At a minimum, victims of bullying or abusive behavior should tell the bully that the behavior is inappropriate and unwelcome, particularly if it's a more subtle form of bullying, i.e. explaining that snide or sarcastic comments are not appropriate, not professional and not appreciated. If the bullying is of a more serious nature or if the target has attempted to resolve the issue but to no avail or if the bullying has become worse, then it's time to tell someone else about it.


How rampant is harassment?

Report the Misconduct

Victims of workplace harassment should immediately report the misconduct to their supervisors and to human resources. Employees should not be left to handle such issues on their own. They should obtain the support of trained professionals and ensure they have the support and backing of the company in dealing with such issues.


Document the Behavior

Bully victims are advised to keep a written record of the inappropriate behavior, describing the date, time and place it occurred, and who else was present, retaining a copy for themselves and providing a copy to their superiors, the HR department, and any other relevant colleagues.

Should things escalate, or official or legal consequences arise, written documentation is important proof that the bullying behavior occurred. If it's not documented, it might as well not have happened.


The existence of such evidence can force an employer to take effective remedial action in response to a bullying situation. In 'he said, she said' scenarios, employers often fail to take action against the harasser. This is less likely if written evidence of bullying exists.

Since harassment or bullying can be a precursor to violence, it is very important for an employer to address all allegations of harassment.


Don’t miss the WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, BULLYING AND HARASSMENT PREVENTION workshop on March 11th.

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