Harassment at Work

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Legal Resource Centre of Alberta Ltd. (LRC)
Psychological harassment is a pattern of acts or words intended to intimidate, offend, degrade, or humiliate. Harassment and bullying do not end in the playground. It has occurred throughout history in the workplace in many forms. Most of the study and law into workplace harassment has been concerned with sexual harassment. Non-sexual, psychological harassment has received attention only very recently. There is little Canadian legislation that directly addresses workplace bullying. The first anti-bullying law in North America was introduced in Quebec in 2004. Psychological harassment is defined as "any vexatious behaviour in the form of repeated and hostile or unwanted conduct, verbal comments, actions or gestures that affect an employee's dignity or psychological or physical integrity that results in a harmful work environment for the employee." A single serious incident of such behaviour with a lasting harmful effect on an employee may also constitute illegal harassment. Since there is no specific legislation in the other provinces, one might argue that persistent harassment is covered by provincial occupational health and safety legislation. For example, the 2001 amendment to Ontario's Occupational Health and Safety Act added "acts of physical or psychological violence, including bullying, mobbing, teasing, ridicule and any other acts or use of words that can reasonably be interpreted as designed to hurt or isolate a person in the workplace." The Act requires employers to develop written Codes of Conduct espousing respect and dignity, denouncing workplace violence, and establishing strategies and discipline to deal with workplace violence.
Work environment, Harassment, Emotional abuse, Employee management relations, Labor law, Occupational psychology
Bowal Peter. "Harassment at Work", Law Now, Jan/Feb 2007, Vol. 31, Iss. 3; p. 53.