Lately, bullying has been a heated topic in the Canadian news.
Wednesday February 27th was Pink Shirt Day, which advocated wearing pink t-shirts as a sign that bullying won’t be tolerated. In Manitoba there is debate about whether Bill 18, which aims to prevent bullying in schools, infringes on private religious schools’ freedom of expression. And, there has been wide-spread coverage on the recent, tragic story concerning cyber-bullying and the death of Amanda Todd.
Public campaigns bring attention to pressing issues, and it is important to have open debate about what constitutes discrimination and harassment.
It is also important to remember that bullying is not confined to children.
Bullying is shockingly prevalent in the workplace, especially in health, education, and social services. Bullies can be managers, who use aggressive, belittling tactics in place of actual management skills, or co-workers who abuse their fellow employees in order to improve their own sense of self-worth.
An astounding eighty percent of targets are women. The effects of bullying are drastic, and include insomnia, anxiety, drug use, and even suicide.
Bullying has no place in the public service. Leadership and good management require respect for oneself and for others, and it is despicable to think of how bullying persists beyond the schoolyard and into offices and boardrooms.
To learn more, ALIS has an excellent tip sheet on workplace bullying and how to prevent it.
What is your opinion on workplace bullying? What prompts it and what can help end it? Tell us in the comments!