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December 06, 2021

40% of Canadians experience workplace bullying: report

Back in May, we discussed workplace bullying in this space.

It’s a tough subject, and we wondered: who could blame victims from fearing retribution should they speak up? As one commenter put it, “If you report the problem, you become the problem.”

Indeed, as in schools, bullying has no upside in the office, yet just how many Canadian workers might be affected by workplace bullies?

As many as 40 per cent, according to the latest estimate.

By the guess of Jacqueline Power, an assistant professor of management at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business, 40 per cent of Canadian workers have experienced one or more acts of bullying on the job each week over the past six months.

*Bing: What should you do when faced with a workplace bully

That’s a “serious problem,” Power notes, and for the sake of keeping score, it’s a notch higher than the 35 per cent figure similarly cited by this blog earlier in the year.

What’s of particular interest with Power’s forecast on bullying, however, isn’t her numerical projections but what she recommends victims do when faced with abuse.

“The no. 1 piece of advice is to stand up to bullies. But research tells us that’s the very worst thing you can do,” she tells the CBC. “If you stand up to a bully, their behaviour escalates.

“Your best bet is to quit your job. If you absolutely can’t do that, be passive. If you actively work (against) a bully … it will get worse.”

Whoa. Talk about the exact opposite lecture you’d give your child about bullying in the schoolyard.

Regrettably, though, Power may be right; in its feature on workplace bullying, which mentions that old adage that reporting workplace abuse often falls on deaf ears, the CBC highlights one Canada Border Services Agency worker who was run out of his job.

“I was forced to retire,” says the employee, who is seeking damages for being chased from his job, leading to a smaller pension from early retirement. “The harassment was so bad that I couldn’t take it anymore.”

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...