Every workplace has to deal with conflict or differing opinions. It is nearly impossible to avoid when you have multiple people from different backgrounds that join together every day.
It is when these conflicts or differing opinions turn into something more personal or targeted that it turns into a problem. This is when it turns into bullying.
Bullying can have devastating mental and physical health effects that can last for years.
The Alberta Government is trying to do something about it.
Bill 30, An Act to Protect the Health and Well-being of Working Albertans, was introduced
Last year and will come into effect this summer.
There are a number of items on the bill including getting paid even if there is a ‘stop work order’ and the reporting of ‘near-miss’ incidents.
But the one many issues that advocates are keeping an eye on is that workers would be prohibited from engaging in harassing or bullying behaviour.
Michelle Phaneuf is the Alberta co-director for the Canada-wide Workplace Fairness Institute. In an interview with Metro Calgary, she said companies really need to make discussions about ‘respect and safety a normal part of their culture.’
“An important piece a lot of organizations are missing is to be able to facilitate these conversations for their employees in a safe, respectful way where they can explore the issue and talk about it,” Phaneuf said.
Having a union on your side can help.
When you are part of a union, you can reach out to a Shop Steward or Business Agent you feel comfortable sharing the issue with. They can also help you take care of your mental health, which can be greatly affected by bullying. Teamsters 362 has a full list of resources on our website that you can find here.
If you are not yet a part of a union, calling one and finding out what your rights are is also an action you could take.
Unions are there to stand up for all of your rights as a worker and ensure that you are working in a safe and healthy work environment – that definitely includes workplace bullying.