Employers must intervene to reduce bullying and mobbing at work.

The Commission on Labor Standards work highlights ten years of practice in management of psychological harassment, bullying and mobbing at work. Employers must intervene for better prevention.

The following is a press release issued by the Commission on Labor Standards regarding the results of their efforts after ten years of the Act being in force.

Perhaps the rest of Canada and other countries should follow their lead and set more concrete standards, guidelines, or even laws to deal with these situations. Inaction will only create an environment in which this objectionable behavior will increase and evolve in an even more negative way.

workplace bullying and mobbing.

Preventing and handling bullying and mobbing at work.

QUEBEC CITY, June 12, 2014 / CNW Telbec / – It’s been ten years since the provisions of the Act respecting labor standards that protect employees against psychological harassment, bullying and mobbing in the workplace came into force in Québec. Québec employees then became the first in North America to receive this type of protection.

To mark this important anniversary, the Commission on Labor Standards held a theme day on psychological harassment “From Prevention to Resolution,” on June 12, 2014 in  Québec City. This event was attended by the Minister of Labor, Mr. Sam Hamad, and had more than 400 participants sharing ten years of expertise in bullying and mobbing at work, and looking at methods of prevention and resolution.

“For 10 years, the Commission on Labor Standards has been a benchmark in the prevention and resolution of situations of bullying at work. It has a presence among both employees and employers and offers them various information tools and awareness to help prevent bullying,” stated the Minister.

Intervention at the heart of conflict resolution.

“Ten years later, if the Commission had only one recommendation to make regarding psychological harassment, it would tell employers: Be vigilant and alert to anything that might affect your personnel, dare to intervene to manage conflicts in your business before they escalate into more pernicious situations. You will come out winners.” stated the CEO of the Commission, Mr. Jean St-Gelais.

Profile of complainants.

A comprehensive review of 75% of all cases of complaints of bullying and mobbing at work deemed admissible and closed to the Commission during the period from April 2010 to April 2013 has established a profile of employees who filed a complaint for psychological harassment, prompting the Commission to make the following two observations:

Industries most at risk.

The file review found that employees who had filed a complaint with the Commission worked mainly in the areas of hotel, restaurant and bars (15%), retail trade (15%) and education, health and social services (14%).

Abuse of authority: the most common form of harassment.

The file review also helped to distinguish the most common forms of bullying are:

  • Abuse of authority – 46%
  • Group harassment (mobbing) – 26%
  • Intimidation (bullying) – 12%
  • Physical or verbal abuse – 10%
  • Sexual harassment – 7%

Prevention: the key to success.

The Commission takes this tenth anniversary to remind all employees and employers that the biggest challenge with handling this problem is prevention. A preventive approach allows better retention, reduced performance deviations from unmotivated employees while avoiding significant costs related to court challenge. In addition, it is important for employers to have sufficient knowledge of and respond in a timely manner to a dangerous situation before damage is done. The principles are well established and proven; it is up to each of them to adapt to the reality of their business:

  • develop a simple, effective and coherent policy and awareness;
  • give internal means of reporting problematic situations;
  • intervene in conflicts (even if done clumsily, it demonstrates a concern for the environment and people);
  • treat people involved with fairness, objectivity and impartiality.

The Commission continues its efforts to raise awareness.

The Commission will continue its outreach activities with the aim of ensuring that employees in Quebec can evolve in a work environment free from psychological harassment.

It is in this context that the Commission set aside this theme day on psychological harassment, launching a video on conflict management. This new tool aims to demonstrate the importance of managers handling a problematic situation between employees (and/or management) before it escalates and results in possible psychological harassment. The video is now available on the Commission website.

Assessment of psychological harassment complaints for 10 years.

1 June 2004 to 31 March 2014, the CNT has received 23,880 complaints of psychological harassment, which corresponds to an average of 2,300 complaints per year.

  • 82% of cases of alleged bullying were repetitive.
  • In 75% of cases, at least one of the defendants in the complaint were in management positions.
  • 60% of the complaints were filed by women.
  • Over the past decade, 23,068 complaints of bullying were closed, including 93.0% of them without filing with the Commission..
  • 1,625 complaints were closed after filing with the Commission des relations du travail; of these, 81% were closed following the conclusion of an agreement out of court.

About the Commission on Labour Standards.

The Commission promotes labor standards and fair and balanced labor relations between employers and employees, in accordance with the Act. For the Commission, a better understanding of labor standards on the part of the employer and employees facilitates the application of the law and leads to compliance.

To receive free information, subscribe to the mailing list to www.cnt.gouv.qc.ca.

SOURCE: Commission of Labour Standards

Jean-François Pelchat
Communications Branch
418 525-2164

photo credit: Leonard John Matthews via photopin cc

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