Bullies Can Make You Sick At Work
Prior to Bill 14 being enacted in the provincial legislature in July 1st 2012, there was nothing in law in British Columbia that provided for compensation for a psychological injury suffered at work. The harm had to be of a physical nature.
That all changed with Bill 14’s arrival and almost a year and a half later, the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations within the Workers Compensation Act delivered the medicine for those workplaces which were sick which was long overdue.
This isn’t like some wonder drug where the doctor gives you a weird looking tablet and says “take one before you go to sleep and you will be alright in the morning!”
No, this medicine is going to take a little bit longer than that to work. But it will work.
The alternative to not taking the medicine can be seen all too clearly around the world even in countries where the issue of Workplace Bullying has been something of a national focus for many years.
Melbourne Austrailia, Marlene Smith
Here is a recent news story from Melbourne, Australia, where a former employee, grandmother of five, Marlene Smith, received over $400,000 for the bullying she endured at the hands of her boss (a manager at Burn Brite), an industrial lighting manufacturer. Ms Smith was quoted as saying,
The mental and emotional scars will never heal
Mother of Gay Son Suffers Bullying from Library Employees
Another news story tells of a former library employee being hospitalized with high blood pressure and other health issues after enduring bullying and harassment from her colleagues. Her co-workers verbally abused and excluded her, spoke to library patrons about her in derogatory terms, and made disparaging remarks about gay issues, knowing that she has a gay son.
What Is The Answer? Does Money Heal the Body?
Well, first of all, we are fortunate here in British Columbia to have legislation and regulations designed to improve the psychological working conditions of our workers and therefore their health.
Statutes and rules are no promise of success though.
You can live by the tenants espoused in the Canada Food Guide every day of your life and that still won’t guarantee that you won’t get ill one day. You have the ability to only control so much in your life.
What we need is a more holistic look at what goes on in our workplaces.
It will require cultural change in some workplaces where, instead of focusing all of our attention on the negative issues, we spend time shedding light on what is positive in our workplace relationships and building on those behaviours.