Pink Shirt Day 2015

February 25 / 2015

Pink Shirt Day 2015

Bullying happens everywhere.

Bullying in the Workplace.

Workplace bullying is a common occurrence in offices and worksites throughout Canada. Often considered rare, bullying among adults is sometimes ignored. Yet the numbers show bullying in the workplace is a problem.

Bullying can take many forms, but the primary indicator of bullying is the bully selects targets and seeks to humiliate, threaten, intimidate, or sabotage those individuals. This is different from a boss with a difficult management style that treats all employees equally and has high expectations of their team.

The fuel required to power bullying includes:

  • an unquestioned acceptance of authority;
  • accepting cruelty between individuals as a routine part of life; and
  • dehumanization of individuals, where people become things rather than individuals with feeling and emotion.

Forms of Bullying

  • Verbal bullying. This is the most common type of bullying, meant to cause the target emotional pain.
  • Physical bullying. Involving forms of physical attacks like hitting and punching, this form of bullying involves using one’s body to gain power over another.
  • Relational bullying. A common form of workplace bullying, this involves ignoring the target, spreading rumors or gossip about them, or purposefully excluding them from work events, meetings, or necessary information.

Take steps to develop workplace policies and programs about what is or is not acceptable workplace behaviour, develop procedures for reporting cases of bullying, and detail how the employer will deal with cases of bullying. In all of these instances, the only way you can successfully prevent bullying is to acknowledge its existence and apply rules consistently.

If bullying does occur at work or if you are a target, consider these tips:

  • Don’t ignore what is happening. You are not the only target;
  • Talk to people you trust, whether another co-worker, manager, human resources specialist, or union representative;
  • Document the incidents. Having a record is useful if anyone accuses you of lying in the future;
  • If you are comfortable, talk calmly to the bully and explain your concerns with how they are treating you. This is not appropriate in all cases, but sometimes confronted bullies retreat when they know they are not emotionally dominant; and
  • Examine your own behaviour and feelings to ensure you don’t perpetuate the bullying cycle.

This list is not exhaustive, and by reading more about workplace bullying you may find a resource that helps you in your workplace or individual case.


The impacts of bullying are real for the bullies, targets, and employers. Here are some resources to consider when thinking about how to prevent workplace bullying: