Thursday, June 22, 2006

Soft Harassment In The Workplace

Harassment comes in many forms and at times, I think it becomes very easy to feel powerless against it. I am no legal expert, so what I'm about to say could be shit, but I really think there is such a thing as overt harassment (objective and documented) and soft harassment (subjective and undocumented, such as the spreading of lies or rumours for the purposes of intimidation).

As defined by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, “[h]arassment, whether by a supervisor or co-worker, creates a barrier to equality by demeaning its victims, interfering with their ability to work effectively and, in some instances, even forcing them to resign.”

Taking that a little further, I looked up what is the employer’s responsibility towards harassment and it reads: “The employer is responsible for any harassment that occurs in the workplace. It is the employer’s duty to:

Make it clear that harassment will not be tolerated;

Establish a harassment policy;

Make sure every employee understands the policy and procedures for dealing with harassment;
Inform supervisors and managers of their responsibility to provide a harassment-free work environment;

Investigate and correct harassment problems as soon as they come to light, even if a formal complaint has not been received.

The employer should be prepared to take appropriate disciplinary action against an employee found to have harassed someone.”

But what do you do when there is no concrete evidence of harassment? What happens when your boss is totally committed to making your life a living hell by being a first class dick just so you quit? What if he or she does so by spreading fictitious lies or telling your colleagues rumours about you with the hopes that it gets back to you? What if your boss is doing this to intimidate you, but there is no concrete evidence? Then what happens? What are your options? And what if no one listens?

Personally, I'm tired of witnessing this bullshit and it's time more employers step up to the plate and protect their employees as opposed to covering their asses. We all know that productivity increases when employees are in a nurturing environment. I think employers are definitely beginning to make the leap by trying to create this "nurturing environment", but sometimes I just get the feeling that these are hollow attempts, high on rhetoric and low on action.


At 8:59 AM, Blogger noone said...

They are hollow attempts. And the Canadian Human Rights Commission regularly fails to protect those who have legitimate cases.

The only answer is, when you're being harassed and management does nothing about it, you need to find a new employer. For your own health and career. It's not worth working in an environment like that. I know because I experienced it.

At 5:02 PM, Blogger Pedro said...

Thanks, Carrie. Sorry for telling you to go to hell last post. I was really in a bad mood that day.


At 8:57 PM, Blogger Woosang said...

Interesting post.

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You still alive there, Pedro?

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