SUMMARY: Resources to help increase awareness of how our workplace behaviours may be interpreted as bullying, even when that wasn't our intention.

Workplace Bullying Awareness Resources

Workplace Bullying Awareness is a set of resources based on the premise that many workplace bullies, including those in management and union roles, aren't aware that their behaviour is experienced as harmful by co-workers and employees.

Creating awareness by encouraging workplace stakeholders to think about how they may help reduce bullying in the workplace can contribute toward a psychologically safer workplace.

The resources include:

Slide presentation to conduct a workshop
Slide presentation to conduct a workshop

Facilitator's guide
Facilitator's guide

Participant's workbook
Participant's workbook

Included in the presentation and facilitator's guide is an outline to facilitate a process to help improve, and agree upon, what is appropriate and respectful team interaction. The participant's workbook is ready to copy and print or email prior to facilitating your sessions.

What if the bully has mental illness?

Either the bully or the target could have a mental health issue, but this is not an excuse to allow the bullying behaviour to continue. It is important to ask, before beginning disciplinary action, if there is a health issue that may be impacting their behaviour at work. You may wish to refer to Identifying Workplace Issues for more information about approaching someone with a mental health issue in a way that is safe for both you and the employee.

If it is the bully who is struggling with their mental health, it must be made clear to them which behaviours are not appropriate. The duty to accommodate a person with a disability does not include allowing behaviours that harm others. If they are unable to comply, they cannot continue to have a negative impact on others in the workplace and may need to take leave to treat their mental illness. This is as much for the sake of their reputation and well-being as it is for those they may be harming.

If the target is experiencing mental health problems, it could alter their perception of the situation. Some may judge them as overreacting or hypersensitive, but steps should still be taken to immediately stop the behaviour that is being experienced by the employee as bullying. Even if the behaviour does not fit into your policy definition of bullying, the psychological harm can be significant.

If you have an employee who is dealing with what they perceive to be bullying behaviour, you may wish to share Protecting ourselves from bullying.