Psychological Harassment (Bullying) In The Workplace

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To the Employed Citizens and Employers of the Province of Alberta, Canada:

On June 1, 2004, Quebec's Act respecting Labour Standards ("ALS") was amended to add new employment standards regarding psychological harassment. Its imposition or employers of obligations regarding the prevention of workplace bullying set new employment standards in North America. The new standards imposed upon employers an explicit obligation to take all reasonable steps to provide a workplace free of harassment, under threat of a direct recourse by an affected employee for damages.*

According to the Canada Safety Council, in a study conducted by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 37 percent of workers have been bullied, with 57 percent of the targets being women. The majority of bullies (72 percent) are people in positions of authority. Whereas peer bullies are less frequent at 18 percent. Worse, statistics show these bullies don't pick on the new guy, but long-term, well-established employees. The most common victims are women in their 40s.**
The Government of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety reports workplace bullying is a serious problem that can deeply affect the mental, physical and financial health of the bully’s target (the person or group the bully abuses). The Canada Safety Council reports that in the workplace, one person in six has been bullied and one in five has witnessed a co-worker being bullied.***

Join me in lobbying the Government of Alberta to amend the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Standards to include Psychological Harassment similar to the amendments the Province of Quebec made on June 1, 2004 in the spirit of the Government of Alberta Occupational Health and Safety's Teacher Resource Binder Chapter 7:
Examples of bullying:

• spreading malicious rumours, gossip or innuendo that is not true

• excluding or isolating someone socially

• intimidating a person

• undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s work

• physically abusing or threatening abuse

• removing areas of responsibilities, without cause

• constantly changing work guidelines

• establishing impossible deadlines that will set up the individual to fail

• withholding necessary information or purposefully giving the wrong information

• making jokes that are obviously offensive, by spoken word or e-mail

• intruding on a person’s privacy by pestering, spying or stalking

• assigning unreasonable duties or workloads that are unfavourable to one person

• creating a feeling of uselessness through underwork

• yelling or using profanity

• criticizing a person persistently or constantly

• belittling a person’s opinions

• unwarranted (or undeserved) punishment

• blocking applications for training, leave or promotion

• tampering with a person’s personal belongings or work equipment (Source: CCOHS OSH Answers (March 8, 2005). Bullying in the Workplace.)

How Can Bullying Affect the Workplace?

Bullying affects the overall health of an organization and may contribute to:

increased absenteeism
increased turnover
increased stress
increased costs for Employee and Family Assistance Programs (EFAP)
difficulty recruiting new workers
increased risks for incidents
decreased productivity and motivation
decreased morale
reduced corporate image and customer confidence
poor customer service

Controls for Bullying Behaviours

OHS legislation does not expressly cover workplace bullying. However, under the OHS Act, employers and workers have the general duty to ensure the health and safety of workers. The OHS Code, Part 27, addresses workplace physical violence, but the provisions do not extend to harassment and bullying, if these actions do not cause or not likely to cause physical injury. Controls should be covered under the workplace violence policies and procedures, as outlined in the next section.****

Once we reach our petition goal, this petition will be received by The Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour (Alberta), The Honourable Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice (Alberta), The Honourable Craig Coolahan, (NDP) MLA for Calgary-Klein, Alberta, and The Government of Alberta Occupational Health & Safety.

Province of Alberta Employers, I encourage you to read the article from listed below citing a report following 7 years since the establishment or amendment of Quebec's ALS to include and deal with psychological harassment in the workforce.

Amended November 8, 2017 to lobby the Government of Alberta to amend the Alberta Employment Standards to include Psychological Harassment similar to the amendments the Province of Quebec made on June 1, 2004 

Amended November 14th, 2016

Revised addition November 24th, 2016: I ask the recipients of this petition to honour out-of-province signatures.  These supporters are likely family or a friend of someone who has been bullied in the workplace or they have witnessed bullying in the workplace.


Leann MacKinnon






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