No one deserves to be harassed at work. Harassment has been considered a Workplace Safety and Health issue for several years. The Act defines harassment as “as any inappropriate conduct, comment, display, action or gesture by a person on the basis of… race, creed, religion, colour; sex, sexual orientation, gender-determined characteristics; marital status, family status, source of income; political belief, political association, political activity; disability, physical size or weight, age, nationality, ancestry or place of origin”. Bullying is a common form of harassment. The Act describes bullying as debilitating comments or treatment that occurs over a long term. It also includes bullying that consists of a single, severe incident.
These definitions can be abstract, so here is a list of the kinds of behavior that falls under the harassment umbrella:
- verbal or written abuse or threats
- insulting, derogatory (mean, critical, embarrassing) comments, jokes or gestures
- personal ridicule (put-downs, teasing) or malicious gossip
- malicious or uncalled-for interference with another’s work
- refusal to work or co-operate with others
- interfering with or vandalizing (damaging) personal property
Remember that harassment can come from many different sources. Harassment from colleagues, administration, parents, students, or members of the public are covered by the act.
If you experience harassment you can report it to your supervisor, the superintendent, or a provincial WSH officer. Remember that in cases of harassment the Code of Professional Conduct releases you from having to inform a colleague of your intention to take matters to higher authority.
For more information you can visit http://www.safemanitoba.com. You can also call MTS Staff Officer Darren Hardy (1-800-262-8803) or check with BLTA. Online, http://www.safemanitoba.com is a great source of WSH information.
View the Safe Work Manitoba Harassment Prevention Brochure