Half of Canadians Bullied at Work

Almost half (45 percent) of Canadian workers say they have felt bullied at work, and a third of these say their health has suffered as a result. More than a quarter (26 percent) say they have decided to quit their jobs to escape the situation.

The survey from CareerBuilder.ca found that while bullying is happening, many victims aren’t keeping quiet. Nearly half of workers don’t confront their bullies and the majority of incidents go unreported.

Workplace bullies can be anyone. Most of the workers who said they felt bullied identified incidents with co-workers (24 percent) or their boss (23 percent.) Customers (17 percent) or higher-ups who aren’t the boss (17 percent) have also been bullies.

More than half (55 percent) of those bullied said they were bullied by someone older than they were, while 26 percent said the bully was younger.

The most common way workers reported being bullied was not being acknowledged and the use of double standards followed by getting blamed for mistakes they didn’t make. The full list includes:

  • Used different standards/policies toward me than other workers – 50 percent
  • Ignored – 49 percent
  • Falsely accused of mistakes – 47 percent
  • Constantly criticized – 36 percent
  • Belittling comments were made about my work during meetings – 30 percent
  • Someone didn’t perform certain duties, which negatively impacted my work – 30 percent
  • Gossiped about – 29 percent
  • Someone stole credit for my work – 25 percent
  • Yelled at by boss in front of coworkers – 24 percent
  • Purposely excluded from projects or meetings – 22 per cent
  • Picked on for personal attributes – 20 percent

“How workers define bullying can vary considerably, but it is often tied to patterns of unfair treatment,” said Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder. “Bullying can have a significant impact on both individual and company performance. It’s important to cite specific incidents when addressing the situation with the bully or a company authority and keep focused on finding a resolution.”

More than half (54 percent) of victims reported confronting the bully themselves, while 46 percent did not. Of those who confronted the bully, 43 per cent said the bullying stopped while 14 per cent said it got worse, and 44 per cent said the bullying didn’t change at all. A third of workers who felt bullied reported it to their Human Resources department.

If you’re feeling bullied in the workplace, remember the following tips:

  • Keep record of all incidents of bullying, documenting places, times, what happened and who was present.
  • Consider talking to the bully, providing examples of how you felt treated unfairly. Chances are the bully may not be aware that he/she is making you feel this way.
  • Always focus on resolution. When sharing examples with the bully or a company authority, center the discussions around how to make the working situation better or how things could be handled differently.