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Month: February 2020

Recent news on workplace harassment

Workplace harassment and discrimination has been in the news a lot this past month. Here are three articles we came across recently:

Female police officers come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination

Effy Zarabi alleges that while working in the Toronto Police Service, she experienced a steady barrage of unwanted sexual advances, racially explicit materials and inappropriate and sexualized messages, some targeted directly at her.

“I think everybody would say, well you knew what you’re getting yourself into,” Effy recalled, “but you really don’t. You don’t know until you get there.”

Read the full article on CTV News

Federal Court certifies $1.1B RCMP bullying, harassment class action

The Federal Court has certified a $1.1-billion class action alleging RCMP leadership fostered and condoned an environment of systemic bullying, intimidation and harassment.

The federal government attempted to shut down the class action last summer, arguing that its own internal processes — updated in 2014 following numerous reports of sexual harassment — were adequate to deal with the claims.

Read the full article on Global News

Auditor general finds CSC, CBSA fell short in response to workplace harassment

Workplace harassment, discrimination — even violence — have been well-established problems at the federal government organizations responsible for managing Canada’s border points and correctional institutions.

Despite this knowledge, Correctional Service Canada and the Canada Border Service Agency didn’t do enough to address these issues and facilitate respectful workplaces.

Read the full article on the Ottawa Citizen

Dismissal after one incident of sexual harassment

Did you know that a single incident of sexual harassment can be grounds for dismissal? It’s true, even for long-standing employees with otherwise clean records.

According to Canadian law firm Cassels:

The threshold for establishing just cause for dismissal is high. Courts consider a dismissal for just cause to be tantamount to “capital punishment” in employment law. Accordingly, the courts generally have been hesitant to uphold dismissals for just cause where an employee has long service and an otherwise clean disciplinary record.


The takeaway for employers is to be proactive about preventing issues from developing in the first place. Specifically:

  • Putting in place a workplace harassment policy
  • Training employees on that policy
  • Making sure employees understand the importance of the policy

Leadership on LinkedIn

We wanted to share a few more Leadership & Workplace Mediation gems we came across on LinkedIn recently.

First, organization psychologist Adam Grant shared this infographic from Liz Wiseman, author of Multipliers:

Six type of accidental diminishers from "Multipliers" by Liz Wiseman

Respect Group posted this telling statistic:

Nine out of ten people believe their workspace quality affects attitudes and increases productivity.

Hughes, 2007

Ottawa Police 2019 Report on Workplace Behaviour & Violence

The Ottawa Police force’s annual “positive workplace” report for 2019 was received by the board this month. Here are some of the findings:

  • There were 61 behaviour complaints and five incidents of workplace violence reported in 2019.
  • Officers and employees reported dealing with “disrespectful communication related to inappropriate behaviour, gossip and general lack of respect.”
  • There were also complaints of “personal harassment in the form of bullying, intimidation, yelling, swearing, rumours and conflict.”

Click here to read the full news article on the Ottawa Citizen website.

Tips for dealing with workplace conflict

Here are three helpful articles about workplace conflict we’ve seen pop up over the past month:

Conflict in the Workplace Negatively Impacts Wellness: Here’s What To Do About It

“Relationships in the workplace affect the culture as well as the overall quality of work.

While a supporting and positive working environment with positive relationships can enhance our experience of work, “conflict can seriously undermine it.”

Read the full article on

How to Deal with Common Issues in the Workplace

According to this piece, conflict, feeling unappreciated and sickness pay are some of the most common workplace issues.

Read the full article on HRnews

How to find common ground when it seems impossible

A 2019 report from online education company Udemy found that the No. 1 soft skill workers need is conflict management skills. The report says that we spend about 2.8 hours per week resolving conflicts, so we’d better be good at doing so.

Read the full article on Fast Company

Police Sick Leave & First Responders’ Mental Health

Saskatchewan was launched an online program to provide first responders with some much-needed mental health support. Click here to read the full article.

“It’s important because when you need help, you kind of need it now,” says Regina paramedic.

Regina Leader Post

Meanwhile, here in Ontario, the president of the Stratford Police Association has sent an insightful letter to the editor of the Stratford Beacon Herald about how we need to talk more about the root causes of police sick time. You can read that letter here.

When uniform officers and police service employees are regularly asked to fill extra shifts and work overtime to make up for a lack of personnel, it can contribute to the development of high rates of burnout and individuals taking extended leaves of absence due to operational stress injuries. This creates a cyclical effect as staffing levels are then even further diminished, with less police personnel available to take on that additional work.

Rob McMillan, President
Stratford Police Association
in The Stratford Beacon Herald

When workplaces ignore mental health & harrassment

These three recent articles dive into bullying, harassment and mental health in the workplace.

Workplace bullying: ‘Fear is the biggest factor’

The most common form of bullying or harassment was “being undermined or humiliated in my job”, reported by 55% of women affected and 50% of men.

Then came “persistent unwarranted criticism” and “unwanted personal remarks”.

Read the full article on the BBC

Employer Pays for Failing to Investigate Harassment

In Bassanese v. German Canadian News Company et al. Justice Sossin of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded the plaintiff, Ms. Bassanese, $50,000 in aggravated damages for the bad faith actions of her former employer, German Canadian News Company (GCNC).

Read the full article on SpringLaw

Mental health is the foundation of workplace safety

In 2013, the Canadian National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety introduced the concept that not only was there a responsibility for the workplace to become involved in maintaining the mental health of workers, but also that the workplace could even be a source of poor mental health.

Read the full article on Canada’s Occupational Health & Safety Magazine