If You’re a Witness to Bullying or Harassment: 5 Tips

96% have experienced disrespectful behaviour in the workplace (Statistics Canada; The Cost of Bad Behavior, Christine Pearson and Christine Porath; The University of Phoenix).

We were thrilled to be recently asked by Kenaidan Contracting, a proud Equal Opportunity Employer, to design a workshop, Respectful Workplace, for all its employees.  From the get-go, we recognized that although we needed to talk about diversity and sexual harassment, a Respectful Workplace is a much more complex topic.

Our first step was to interview several savvy HR professionals about their experiences, whether firsthand or reported incidents. In conducting our research, we asked questions such as:

  1. What is a respectful workplace?
  2. What are respectful vs. disrespectful behaviours?
  3. Why do they occur?
  4. How can one respond if a target or if a witness?
  5. What can every employee do to build a respectful workplace?

The question that was the most challenging was “What you can do if you’re a witness?”. Research shows that regrettably, most witnesses ignore, minimize or distance themselves from these situations.

If you observe disrespectful behaviours happening to someone in your workplace, here are 5 tips:

  1. Document any situation involving disrespectful behaviours such as bullying, cyberbullying, verbal abuse, threats, physical violence or sexual harassment.
  2. Tell the offender that the behaviour is not appropriate or acceptable; be assertive.
  3. Offer the target your support; encourage him/her to take action.
  4. Coach the target about how to address this situation.
  5. Go with him/her to speak to the offender and to HR, as appropriate.

Deb Fillippe, VP of Human Resources at Kenaidan Contracting says this about CORE’s Respectful Workplace workshop:

“The workshop created a renewed awareness and energy around this topic within our organization,  particularly about the role of the witness.”

If you are keen to learn more about to support a respectful workplace, or would like to discuss our Respectful Workplace workshop, please contact me at (905) 990-2515 or jhill@coreconsultinginc.ca