Half of Canadian Employees Feel Bullied at Work, Survey Finds

November 19, 2014 Updated: November 19, 2014

Close to half of Canadians feel they have been bullied at work, with bosses most commonly identified as the culprit, according to a new survey by job site CaeerBuilder.ca.

The survey, which polled 400 workers, found that 45 percent of Canadians feel they were subject to bullying in their workplace. Close to a quarter said their boss yelled at them in front of other co-workers, and 16 percent said others picked on them for personal attributes such as race, gender, or appearance. 

According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, workplace bullying includes acts or verbal comments that could mentally hurt or lead to isolation of a person in the workplace, and usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour meant to intimidate, offend, degrade, or humiliate a person. 

The most common type of bullying reported in the survey was being falsely accused of making mistakes (54 percent), followed by being ignored, such as the employee’s comments being dismissed or not acknowledged (51 percent), and being constantly criticized by bosses or co-workers (37 percent).

Close to half of those who felt bullied at work said their bosses were the number one culprit (49 percent), followed closely by co-workers (47 percent). Others reported as bullies include customers (two-thirds), and a higher-up at the company (23 percent). 

More than a quarter said they left a job because of feeling bullied, while an equal number said they feel bullied in their current job.

The majority of those feeling bullied decided to keep silent about their experience, with only 44 percent bringing complaints to the human resources department. Half of those who complained said no action was taken to resolve the situation. 

Over half of those who felt bullied took matters into their own hands by confronting their tormenters. Over a quarter said the bullying stopped after the confrontation, and close to the same number said it continued. Two percent said the bullying got worse after they confronted the bully. 

“Our results showed that, despite the prevalence of workplace bullying, many workers do not come forward to report it, and many of those who do feel their complaints aren’t heard,” said Mark Bania, director of CareerBuilder Canada. 

“Workers should feel comfortable coming forward if they feel they are being bullied, and employers should take these complaints seriously, as they can lead to larger problems that affect not just the individual employee, but the entire organization,” Bania added.

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