Workplace Violence and Bullying at Work

Workplace Violence and Bullying at Work Overview


The target of bullying undoubtedly suffers the most of anyone involved. A victim can lose their job, their home, their sense of self-worth, and possibly even their sanity. The people in their surroundings, family members or colleagues, may also suffer. More research is needed to understand the cost to those near the victim.

The experience and talents of victims will be wasted if they become unemployed and the cost is left for society to pay in supporting the victims. (Rayner, et al., 2002).

The Offensive Discrimination at Work Act was introduced in Sweden in 1994, in order to protect workers from offensive behaviour but mainly from bullying.

A Victimization at Work Ordinance also exists, which provides a framework for protecting workers and also helps workers recognize what workplace bullying is. ( Adams, 1997).

An important change occurred in Quebec in 2002 when the Labour Standard’s Act was overhauled. Fully implemented in 2004, there is now a ban on “psychological harassment” in the workplace for the first time in Canada. (Namie, 2003).

In Sweden, Leymann and others have been studying the workplace bullying since the early 1980’s. In all of Scandinavia there was an acknowledgment of the importance of workplace health and safety; psychosocial issues exist at the workplace. In the UK, workplace bullying became a national agenda in the early 1990’s and has been continually growing as a focus. (Lee, 2000).

There has not been as much research on the issue in North America. With others having already led the way, both the US and Canada should take more active rules in assessing the situation within their own borders, providing relevant legal frameworks, as well as contributing to the global knowledge on the issue.

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