Posts in Respect in the Workplace

Respect Group/Workplace Fairness Institute Action Summit

January 5th, 2020 Respect in the Workplace

Is your organization at a loss as how to address psychological health and safety or challenged with Alberta’s new Occupation Health and Safety code?  We are bringing support.  Join us for the day to get insight into this complex issue and take away real tools you can immediately apply in your workplace.

Our upcoming Action Summit will examine the intersection of Psychological Health and Safety and Civility & Respect.  You won’t want to miss it so join us on January 29th, 2020.

 

Attention HR professionals: Earn 6 CPD Hours by attending the Action Summit!

Get Your Tickets HERE

Summit Developers

The Workplace Fairness Institute and Respect Group

 

As partners, the Workplace Fairness Institute and Workplace Fairness West believe that psychological health and safety is AS important as physical health and safety.  That is why we support organizations across Canada to create working environments in which employees can thrive. Whether that’s promoting civility and respect, addressing bullying/harassment, managing conflict, training employees, or coaching leaders we have the expertise and knowledge to partner with businesses to create strong and healthy employees.  When employees thrive, businesses succeed.

That’s also why we work closely with Respect Group and agreed to step up in Alberta to provide a learning opportunity for organizations and employees to address issues focused on psychological health and safety and civility and respect.

Who Should Attend?

Sessions will benefit:

  • Senior HR Professionals
  • Senior Occupational Health and Safety Professionals
  • Union Representatives
  • Municipalities
  • Business Leaders
  • Educational Institutions
  • Non profits

Why Should I Attend?

By attending you will:

  • Understand what your duty is as an employer to address the OHS issues and their impact on psychological health and safety.
  • Walk away with a road map of what your organization needs to do to create or improve upon a psychologically healthy workplace
  • Receive compliance and risk reduction ideas and solutions that can be easily implemented within your organization.
  • Be able to build a business case, determine your organizations return on investment and successfully position the importance and value within your organization
  • Hear from other leading organizations as they share their experiences regarding challenges and successes in creating psychologically healthy workplaces.

 

What’s my Investment?

Your investment will provide on-going value for yourself and your organization.  Ticket prices are deliberately kept low to ensure that we are able to support all participants.

 

Sales are limited so act soon!

Regular – $199

Group Rate – 35% off regular price for groups of 4 or more

 

Purchase your tickets HERE

 

Where will the learning happen?

Join us in Calgary, Alberta on January 29, 2020 at the historic Grand Theater.  An appropriate setting to engage participants to be creative, join in the facilitated discussions of the day and experience new learning.

608 1st St. SW    Calgary Alberta

Conveniently located just off the C-Train Line
Available Parking – James Short Parkade 115 4th Ave SW, Indigo Parkade at Centre Street – North of 7th Ave SW

What does the Day Look Like?

For Detailed Session Information click here.

8:30-9:00 Registration

9:00-9:15 Intro & Opening Remarks – Sheldon Kennedy – The Human Cost of Psychological Health and Safety

9:15-10:15 Fireside Chat – Psychological Health and Safety – Where are we now? 

10:15-10:30 Networking Break

10:30-12:00 Morning Breakout Sessions

  1. How can we position our people and organization’s culture to always place RESPECT first in everything we do?
  2. Developing a Roadmap to Create a Psychological Safe Workplace

12:00-1:00 Lunch

1:00-2:15  ROI and Building the Business Case – Sharing Resources

2:15-2:30 Networking Break

2:30-3:45 Afternoon Breakout Sessions – Sharing the Journey to Psychological Health & Safety

  • Non-Profit: Calgary Drop-In Centre
  • Municipality: City of Lethbridge
  • Union: TBD

3:45-4:00 Wrap-up

4:00-5:00 Join us in the Mezzanine for networking after conference

 

Who will be joining us?

For Speaker Bio’s click here.

Sheldon Kennedy – Internationally known Abuse Prevention Advocate

Dr. Pat Ferris – International Bullying/Harassment Expert, researcher and social worker focused on the treatment of bullying/harassment targets

Wayne McNeil – – Co-founder Respect Group and Canadian Red Cross Caring Award Recipient

Cameron Mitchell – President Kasa Consulting , Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) representative, Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and certified COR auditor

Blaine Donais – Present and Founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute, workplace conflict management specialist and author of Workplaces that Work, Engaging Unionized Employees and The Art & Science of Workplace Mediation.

Brad Blaisdell – Western Regional Director of the Respect in the Workplace Program at Respect Group

Danica Kelly – Eastern Regional Director of the Respect in the Workplace Program at Respect Group

Michelle Phaneuf – Partner Workplace Fairness West, certified Psychological Health and Safety Adviser and experienced workplace restoration expert.

Sandra Clarkson – Executive Director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre

Barb Neckich – Senior Human Resources Consultant, City of Lethbridge

It's Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

It’s Well Past Time the NHL Fixed a Culture That Allows Coaching Abuses of Power With Little Consequence

December 9th, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

Source: Sports Illustrated:MICHAEL ROSENBERG

 

The NHL has a problem, and it’s not just that Bill Peters used the n-word with an African-born player, or that Mike Babcock apparently accosted a player to the point of a nervous breakdown, or that Marc Crawford has been accused of assaulting at least three players. It’s that they thought they could get away with all that—and for a long time, they did.

Hockey’s culture, endearing in so many ways, has some real shortfalls. For decades, coaches’ ideal player had soft hands, fast feet, a powerful shot and no vocal cords. Players are told to fall in line early and almost always do. No matter how much money they make or how famous they are, players just seem to want to play hockey. It’s charming. But coaches know they can take advantage, and teams become autocracies.

“What you hear is, ‘All those hockey guys are such nice guys, they’re so nice to work with,’” former NHL forward Sheldon Kennedy said. “You hear that all the time. And the players are good, most of the coaches are good people. [But] it’s not a player-empowered league. It is very authoritative, dominant. Even the star players in hockey don’t really have a voice … the big stars don’t speak up like they do in other leagues.”

Kennedy only played 310 games in the NHL, but he understands the sport’s cultural problem as well as anybody. In the 1990s, he publicly accused his junior-league coach Graham James of sexual abuse. James was convicted. For the last 16 years, Kennedy’s company the Respect Group has trained 1.3 million people in workplace and sporting conduct.

 

Kennedy is clear: “It’s not just a hockey issue.” But hockey is especially vulnerable. From the moment teen stars leave home to play junior hockey, they are told, “Make sure you listen to your coach.” The idea that authority figures know better than they do is instilled early and often. You can draw a line from Players’ Association head Alan Eagleson defrauding players to the current crisis.

The coaches in the news lately are not just any coaches. Babcock won the Stanley Cup once, nearly won it two other times, then signed the richest coaching contract in NHL history, with the league’s flagship team. Former Red Wing Johan Franzen, who has a history of concussions and depression, says Babcock verbally assaulted him to the point where he didn’t want to go to the rink.

Crawford also won the Cup. He has been accused of kicking and choking players.

Peters used the n-word in anger toward player Akim Aliu a decade ago, when Aliu played for Peters with the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs. Peters says he apologized in front of the entire team —which, if true, would mean the whole team knew about it. Yet Peters got two NHL coaching jobs after that.

Imagine seeing these kinds of headlines about Steve Kerr. Or Sean McVay. Or Joe Maddon.

The NHL can change, but only if commissioner Gary Bettman wants it to change—and early indications are that he does. He met with Aliu, who said they had “a great discussion.” And last week, NHL executive vice president Kim Davis reached out to Kennedy. They are supposed to talk this week.

 

Davis should ask Kennedy the same question I asked him:

When it comes to educating people about these issues, does the NHL trail youth hockey?

Kennedy’s response: “Absolutely.”

It is a strange phenomenon. In most sports, players have the most power when they are professionals. But hockey still clings to the archetype of the domineering coach. Most players fear losing ice time or getting sent down to the minors, and established stars don’t want to look like divas. You can see where players who want to speak up often feel trapped.

The Respect Group’s Respect in Sport Activity Leader Program, is mandatory for all coaches by Hockey Canada and all host families in the Canadian Hockey Legaue. More than 300,000 people have been certified. Hockey Canada requires one parent or care-giver of every youth player to complete the Respect in Sport Parent Program. Yet Kennedy says, “I’ve done nothing, ever with the NHL.”

Maybe Davis and Bettman will change that. This is not just about the coaches who have been named. Professional environments should have certain standards. Somebody has to implement them.

“They just need to get on board,” Kennedy said. “They need to support the good work that is happening in grassroots hockey … the sexual-abuse stuff has made the headlines for all these years. But the reality is, we’ve known the emotional and physical abuse and verbal abuse doesn’t make the headlines, but it’s probably more prevalent.”

 

Bettman is meeting with the league’s Board of Governors this week. He has declined to talk until after that meeting. He and the board should realize they have two options here. They can worry about damage control, or they can root out the problem and start fixing it. Kennedy says, “What I know about this stuff is when we have good leadership within an organization, or a team, this stuff doesn’t happen.” That applies to leagues, too.

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

Calls for diversity, inclusion in sports amplified following Peters allegations

December 2nd, 2019 Respect in Sport, Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Calgary Herald:

SAMMY HUDES

 

As the Calgary Flames investigate allegations of racism and physical force by head coach Bill Peters toward former players, some say changes are desperately needed in order to foster a more inclusive environment in hockey from the grassroots to professional levels.

The allegations began surfacing Monday when former Flames forward Akim Aliu wrote on social media that Peters “dropped the N bomb several times towards me in the dressing room” while both were in the minors during the 2009-10 season.

Former Carolina Hurricanes player Michal Jordan later alleged that Peters kicked him and punched another player “to the head” during a game. Peters coached the Hurricanes prior to joining the Flames.

The allegations of racial slurs came as no surprise to Cecil Harris, who in 2003 wrote a book on racism in the sport titled, “Breaking the Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey.”

“Only the names have changed, unfortunately, because the same racial intolerance exists,” said Harris, who is based in New York.

Throughout his research, he said he spoke to many black players who described having “buried” racist experiences in order to advance their hockey careers, including former Flames captain Jarome Iginla.

“Iginla shared a story with me. It’s something that happened when he was 15 years old. He was chased by some people and racial slurs were uttered,” said Harris, adding Aliu was “right in believing that he would have been blamed” had he come forward with his allegations against Peters sooner.

“The onus would be put on him and he would be attacked and he wouldn’t be able to progress in the sport.”

In Canada, more than 50 sport organizations across the country have partnered with the Respect Group, which strives to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in sports.

Co-founder Wayne McNeil said games like hockey are changing as new Canadians continue to fuel population growth across Canada.

“Have they been slow? Maybe we’ve all been slow across all sports to really come up with the best approach to getting new Canadians involved,” he said.

“We need to come up with the right messaging and scheduling and levels of play that are going to make it really exciting for new Canadians to be part of it.”

McNeil said the group tries to prepare coaches with the tools needed to handle their behaviour, especially in high-emotion circumstances.

“The emotional levels that people feel — be it coaches, be it parents — in a sport, they get elevated to a level that you don’t typically see in a workplace, or that you even encounter when you’re in a school environment,” he said.

“You look at a lot of the things that happen. They’re quick responses to high emotional moments often followed by apologies because people realize ‘oh my god, I don’t typically act like that.’”

He said coaches need to “understand their legal and moral duty of care,” while remembering that their goal is to build self-esteem in participants.

In a statement, the Coaching Association of Canada said “inclusion must be a foundational pillar of our sport system” and that it continues to educate coaches, administrators, and volunteers on the most “constructive ways to build inclusive and respectful sport experiences.”

Andrea Carey, director of operations and special projects with Sport for Life, said issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at the grassroots level are “rapidly changing right now.”

Carey said the organization trains those in the sporting community to create inclusive environments, with a focus on creating opportunities for Indigenous people and newcomers, people with disabilities, women and girls.

Akim Aliu skates with the Calgary Flames during his time with the team in April 2012. LORRAINE HJALTE / CALGARY HERALD

She said there’s still a huge gap in terms of staff, volunteers, parents and players being fully prepared to ensure a welcoming culture at all times.

“In many cases, they don’t know what they don’t know. They might think they know about, let’s say racism. They think they know what issues are around racism,” said Carey.

“But if you dive deeper, often they really don’t know because they maybe haven’t had the opportunity to work with someone with lived experience that can share that story and bring those topics to light.”

That still needs to be tackled from the top-down, according to Harris, who noted that while “outstanding players” of colour like Iginla or Edmonton Oilers great Grant Fuhr found acceptance at hockey’s highest level, “marginal” players have a harder time than white athletes of the same calibre.

He said more diversity is needed among hockey’s most influential decision-makers.

“It’s business as usual if the overwhelming majority of coaches, assistant coaches and general managers are white. I think the black player who is subjected to racial slurs will be told ‘just forget about.’ They cut deep if those words are uttered to you,” he said.

“If there was more diversity and inclusion … I think that would send a strong message to all players: respect everybody regardless of their background, get racism out of the sport. It doesn’t belong here. It’s vile.”

shudes@postmedia.com
Twitter: @SammyHudes

Sheldon Kennedy stops by RDC to talk advocacy, self-care and openness

Sheldon Kennedy stops by RDC to talk advocacy, self-care and openness

November 21st, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: LACOMBE ONLINE
Published: Wednesday, 20 November 2019 20:09
Written by Kalisha Mendonsa

 

 

Sheldon Kennedy stopped at Red Deer College this afternoon for a fireside-chat style to his vision to eliminate bullying, abuse, harassment, and discrimination.

Hosted by RDC President Dr. Peter Nunoda, the fireside-style discussion focused on Kennedy’s advocacy work with the Respect Group, as well as his own personal experiences with overcoming and addressing trauma.

Some of the themes of Kennedy’s discussion were around encouraging bystanders to act, to create a safe place for communication and to encourage people to practice talking about their issues so that changes can be made.

“A lot of times, it’s just people saying “You know, I’m feeling off today. I don’t know what’s going on” or “Hey, I heard a couple of comments, I saw your body language, it looks like you were really impacted by that” – those are the types of conversations I think are really important,” he said.

Kennedy’s overarching goal to inspire a culture of respect is foundational to the work of the Respect Group, and his message is applicable to all workplaces, schools and sports organizations.

The work done within the Respect Group is based on advocacy, education and encouraging people to be able to have difficult conversations before critical moments of crisis. He said it’s about creating a culture where, in our businesses, our schools, or communities, people are caring about each other and are empowering each other to take a stand when they feel something is wrong.

In Central Alberta, Kennedy is known for his extensive efforts to help bring the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre to life.

“They’re doing great work. I’m still quite involved in getting that work done, and getting that building here. I may not be as forefront and centre as I once was, but I’m still helping behind the scenes. I think that this community continually shows up, and I think that just makes sense,” he said.

“When you look what we’re trying to do, and what they’re trying to do and what they’re doing, it just makes sense. To deal with these issues, we have to be working together. We have to take a community approach to these issues.”

The issues that Kennedy is alluding to include child abuse, sexual abuse, mental health and wellness, trauma and breaking the cycles and societal conditions that allow these issues to continue.

“Basically, the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre, what they’ve done is ask who are the organizations that have the legislative mandate to work in the space across our area, let’s bring them together and help them to get the best outcomes for kids – to me, it’s not rocket science.

He said having CACAC and the other agencies in our region working together is the best way to build better outcomes for children in the future. He said it comes down to leadership, and that he sees that in the work of local agencies.

“I think they’re doing a great job. I’m quite confident that the Centre of Excellence, the Child Advocacy Centre and the building will be built on the campus. I think there’s a need and there’s a will. We need the leadership and we need the data and the analytics to support the work around early intervention, prevention and integrated practice throughout the province of Alberta and across the country.”

Kennedy said he’s glad to continue to support the strong work of advocacy groups and organizations but is thankful he decided to take a bit of a step back. He said he’s focused on maintaining his health and well-being so that he can be a strong father, husband and person in his own life.

Psychological safety part of amended occupational health act

October 28th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Kevin Yarr · CBC News · 

 

Government is giving employers time to prepare for the new rules

 

The P.E.I. government is rolling out a public education campaign over the next several months on new workplace harassment regulations and an Act to Amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The changes include a definition of harassment, set out the responsibilities of workers and employers and require employers to have a policy on workplace harassment.

“Employers will have a responsibility to ensure the safety of the workers. And this will include not just physical safety, but their psychological safety as well,” said Danny Miller, director of occupational health and safety.

“It’s our hope that these regulations will go a long way to improve awareness, education and the prevention of workplace harassment.”

The new regulations were prompted by a 2013 incident, in which the Workers Compensation Board found workplace bullying and the related stress was likely the cause of the death of an Island man.

 

The regulations include information on how to make a harassment complaint and how that complaint should be investigated. They will come into effect in July.

Miller said the delay in bringing in the changes will allow employers and workers a reasonable amount of time to understand the legislation and prepare for it.

A guide to the new rules has been developed. In advance of implementation there will be public education sessions as well as workshops for employers.

 

 

Respect Group and Workplace Fairness Action Summit: The Intersection of Psychological Health & Safety and Civility & Respect

October 24th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace, Uncategorised

 

 

 

Is your organization at a loss as how to address psychological health and safety or challenged with Alberta’s new Occupation Health and Safety (OHS) code?  We are bringing support.  Join us for the day to get insight into this complex issue and take away real tools you can immediately apply in your workplace.   This Action Summit will examine the intersection of Psychological Health and Safety and Civility & Respect.

Sessions will benefit Senior HR Professionals, Senior Occupational Health and Safety Professionals, and those leading Municipalities, Businesses, Unions, Educational Institutions and Non profits.

By attending you will:

  • Understand what your duty is as an employer to address the OHS issues and their impact on psychological health and safety.
  • Walk away with a road map of what your organization needs to do to create or improve upon a psychologically healthy workplace
  • Receive compliance and risk reduction ideas and solutions that can be easily implemented within your organization.
  • Be able to build a business case, determine your organizations return on investment and successfully position the importance and value within your organization
  • Hear from other leading organizations as they share their experiences regarding challenges and successes in creating psychologically health workplaces.

 

More details on the day including a full agenda can be found here: https://workplacefairnesswest.ca/detailed-session-information/

 

 

Preventing BAHD Behaviours in your Workplace

August 21st, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

In Partnership with the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada (NGCOA)
Source: 
Golf Business Canada Fall 2019

Authors: Brad Blaisdell & Michelle Phaneuf

Brad is the Regional Director – Respect in the Workplace for Respect Group which focuses on the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination. Michelle is a partner with Workplace Fairness West and the Workplace Fairness Institute. Contact Brad at bblaisdell@respectgroupinc.com and Michelle at phaneuf@workplacefairnesswest.ca.

Workplaces are complex, dynamic environments. Like golf, to improve your overall game or operations you need to recognize and adjust your physical game, but also your mental game. Employers today recognize the value of a healthy workplace, and that psychological health and safety is AS important as physical health and safety.

How we work, who we are, our attitudes, and behaviour are diverse and unique. When everyone interacts respectfully this diversity fosters a robust workplace and an inviting operation for staff. However, without that foundation of respect, BAHD (Bullying, Abuse, Harassment & Discrimination) behaviours can creep in. According to the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety these behaviours might look like:

Preventing BAHD Behaviours in your Workplace

  • Spreading malicious rumours, gossip, or
  • Excluding or isolating someone
  • Intimidating a
  • Undermining or deliberately impeding a person’s
  • Physically abusing or threatening
  • Making verbal or emails jokes that are ‘obviously offensive’
  • Yelling or using
  • Criticizing a person persistently or
  • Belittling a person

 
If left unchecked, BAHD can turn an otherwise healthy workplace into a toxic environment and the cost of doing nothing adds up quickly.

THE COST OF DOING NOTHING

3 in 10 Canadians say their workplaces are not psychologically safe and healthy1, and nearly half report having experienced one or more acts of workplace harassment at least once a week for the last six months.2 Employees coping with these toxic work environments take twice as much sick time.3 Statistics Canada estimates the cost of employee absence due to bullying and harassment is roughly $19 billion per year.

Toxic workplaces not only affect employee absence but also impact productivity and efficiency. 80% of employees in toxic workplaces spend significant time and energy focused on the BAHD behaviour taking time away from their work and 48% reduce their effort.4 Considering an annual wage of $60,000, an example of 20% reduction in productivity can equate to a $12,000 loss per employee. This can have a significant financial impact on organizations of all sizes.

KPMG’s Diversity and Inclusion Group recently hosted a panel event in Toronto to discuss the issues around workplace bullying and harassment. Their panel included:

Louise Bradley, president and CEO, Mental Health Commission of Canada, Pamela Jeffery, president, The Pamela Jeffery Group, Soula Courlas, partner, KPMG, and Sheldon Kennedy, former NHL player, abuse survivor and co-founder of the Respect Group.

The panellists noted that ignoring the issue not only affects employee retention, but it hurts productivity and profitability.5 Experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace can trigger mental health problems and illnesses, which, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, are the leading cause of short – and long – term disability.6 The economic burden in Canada has been estimated at $51 billion per year.

WHY SHOULD WE CARE?

Governments across Canada are recognizing the importance of psychological health and safety, and legislation is in effect to guide organizations to manage these issues. While legislation may differ from province to province, many have clear guidelines and expectations for employers.

Workers Compensation Boards are also accepting claims focused on psychological injuries including wording such as: clear and confirmed harassing behaviour at the workplace where a worker has been subjected to threats of harm, violations of personal privacy, public shaming or baseless threats to his or her employment status. Employers large and small have the duty to ensure their workplaces are harassment free and are exposing themselves to legal and financial risk if they do not address BAHD behaviours.

Sheldon Kennedy indicated in the panel discussion that, “Leaders and operators need to ask the tough questions to determine if this type of behaviour is happening in their organization. They need to be prepared for what they might find and be committed to taking action to address and end it.”

WHAT CAN WE DO?

A shocking 55% of surveyed Canadians reported experiencing bullying in the workplace, including name-calling, physical aggression and online taunts, according to a 2018 poll by Forum Research. Worse still, the study found that only one third of companies took action to stop the perpetrators. While pointing out the risks of not addressing the issue, the panellists noted that many organizations are taking real action to address the issue. “This isn’t just about focusing on the bad individuals,” said Kennedy. “Ninety-eight percent of individuals want to be good, so focus on them and give them the tools to be better.”

For those companies who don’t know where to start, the panellists said the most important step was instituting a culture of respect and zero tolerance for toxic behaviour in their organizations — a tone that needs to come straight from the golf course owner or operator, or general manager. “This will require a willingness from leadership to face the hard truths about what is happening inside their walls,” said Courlas. “Bullying can be subtle. Education is key to helping people recognize it. Leadership has a duty to proactively work towards eradicating this type of behaviour, which will inevitably help unlock the best of their people. Making good people better is the end goal and is completely attainable.”

WorkSafe BC has created guidelines to support employers in responding effectively:

ENCOURAGE everyone at the workplace to act towards others in a respectful and professional manner.

HAVE a workplace policy in place that includes a reporting system.

EDUCATE everyone that bullying is a serious matter.

TRY TO WORK OUT solutions before the situation gets serious or “out of control.”

EDUCATE everyone about what is considered bullying, and whom they can go to for help.

TREAT all complaints seriously, and deal with complaints promptly and confidentially.

TRAIN supervisors and managers in how to deal with complaints and potential situations. Encourage them to address situations promptly whether or not a formal complaint has been filed.

HAVE an impartial third party help with the resolution, if necessary.

They recommend that organizations act as soon as possible, not ignore any potential problems and not delay resolution.

Employers large and small must implement procedures for responding to reports or incidents of bullying and harassment. The procedures must ensure a reasonable response to the report or incident and aim to fully address the incident and ensure that bullying and harassment is prevented or minimized in the future. Investigations into the incident may be required or an impartial third party may be a resource for resolving the situation or restoring the workplace after an investigation has taken place.

In addition to clear policies and procedures, other best practices include a no-reprisals policy, confidential whistleblower lines, a workplace Ombudsman and due diligence on new hires.

HOW CAN WE BE PROACTIVE?

Thankfully, today’s work climate is changing. Top organizations are less reactive and more proactive than ever before. Employee wellness has become a priority because happy, engaged employees are more productive, collaborative, and innovative and will be much more client focused. Meeting and exceeding client expectations is next to impossible if trust between co- workers is broken, they are not engaged, appreciated, or acknowledged for the good work they do.

According to Wayne McNeil, co-founder of Respect Group, “Polices and procedures are necessary, but they typically sit on the shelf until an issue arises. You really do need to have proactive training that creates standards, empowers the bystander and refers to the policies/procedures. Ultimately, your risk mitigation strategy needs to be in sync with your desire to drive a positive culture.”

He indicates that this message needs to come from leadership. It can start with HR professionals saying that they need to be proactive; they can plant the seed. But the tone of the culture, the commitment and the accountability must be set by senior leadership.

Blaine Donais, president and founder of the Workplace Fairness Institute says, “Unresolved conflict is one of the top 5 indicators of bullying and harassment. Organizations need to ensure that employees have options to successfully resolve conflict. We have found that instituting a Workplace Ombudsman Office provides employees with a safe, confidential space to support in the resolution of conflict.”

Bullying, Abuse, Harassment, and Discrimination can be successfully addressed when it appears, and golf course course owners and operators can take steps to be proactive in preventing these behaviours. These steps will help your organization to create an environment in which employees can be successful, thereby ensuring your operation’s success.

 

ENDNOTES:

(1)www.reuters.com/article/us-work-mentalhealth/three-in-10-workers-say-workplace-not-psychologically-safe- idUSBRE82D0LF20120314

(2) www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/75-006-x/2018001/article/54982-eng.htm

(3)www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/sites/default/files/february_workplace_webinar.pdf

(4) https://hbr.org/2018/07/do-your-employees-feel-respected

(5 )www.cos-mag.com: Addressing workplace bullying, harassment must be a business priority, Panel January 31st, 2019

(6)www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/sites/default/files/february_workplace_webinar.pdf

 

 

Law firm ordered to pay student nearly $70K for wrongful firing that led to her becoming homeless

August 19th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

A prominent Vancouver law firm has been ordered to pay almost $70,000 for wrongfully dismissing an articling student, who ended up unemployed and homeless for several months after she was fired.

A B.C. Supreme Court justice found that Melissa Ojanen, who graduated from law school in 2016, was mistreated while working at Acumen Law Corporation.

She had been hired as an articling student in what was supposed to be a 12-month placement that included a 10-week professional legal training course.

“She is the victim of unfair, bullying, bad-faith conduct by her former employer and her former principal and has suffered substantial and prolonged emotional distress because of that conduct,” wrote Justice Geoffrey Gomery in the decision.

“The consequences for Ms. Ojanen were severe. She was unable to obtain alternate articles and has not been called to the bar.”

‘Unnecessary and psychologically brutal’

Acumen specializes in driving law. According to the judgment, Acumen founder Paul Doroshenko fired Ojanen publicly after discovering a blog about driving prohibitions that he believed she was running.

Doroshenko argued it was too similar to one the firm runs.

“Mr. Doroshenko’s response on discovering the blog was disproportionate and bullying,” Gomery wrote.

“I find that he was determined to protect Acumen’s competitive position by making an example of Ms. Ojanen.”

Paul Doroshenko, founder of Acumen, is a prominent defence lawyer in Vancouver. (CBC News)

Doroshenko accused the student of breach of contract, theft, trespassing and wrongful use of marketing materials belonging to the firm. The judge dismissed the allegations, noting they were “harsh and unwarranted.”

Gomery also noted the firm’s actions — including serving a lawsuit against Ojanen in front of her classmates, rather than mailing it to her — was “unnecessary and psychologically brutal.”

After she was fired, Ojanen struggled to find employment and pay rent, according to the ruling.

She lived out of her car for three months — and when her husband, whom she is separated from, repossessed the vehicle, she briefly lived on the streets before her parents took her in.

“Pending the resolution of this lawsuit, her life has been on hold,” wrote Gomery.

Ojanen was awarded $50,000 for aggravated damages, as well as ordinary damages of $18,934 for lost wages.

Never too busy for investigations If employers can’t find time to investigate harassment, they’ll pay damages later

Never too busy for investigations If employers can’t find time to investigate harassment, they’ll pay damages later

August 15th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: Occupational Health and Safety 

By: Jeffrey R. Smith

It can be busy to run a company and manage employees. At times, most business owners and managers probably feel it’s almost impossible to juggle all the things being asked of them. However, regardless of how busy things are, they can’t use it as an excuse not to properly investigate allegations of workplace harassment or bullying.

All employers in Canada have a legal obligation to properly and fairly investigate allegations of harassment, bullying and violence in the workplace. After all, they are also legally required to provide a workplace free of such threats, so when the possibility of any of these things occurring is raised, they need to find out if it happened and if it did, take measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

It’s a human rights matter, a health and safety matter, and a workplace culture matter.

Unfortunately, proper investigations don’t always happen. This is evident in the numerous employment law cases involving alleged workplace harassment, bullying, and violence that were deemed not to have been properly resolved by the employers involved. And usually this means the employer must pay.

The Ontario Superior Court recently heard a case where an employee made a formal complaint that a co-worker verbally harassed her on multiple occasions, including yelling and screaming at her and calling her an idiot. The president of the company acknowledged her complaint, but said they were currently short-staffed due to illnesses and vacation, so he would pass it along to the HR department.

However, no-one did anything over the ensuing month, and the employee complained again that her co-worker continued to yell at her and insult her, saying she was at her “wit’s end.” Still, nothing was done.

One month after the employee’s second complaint and two months after her initial complaint, the employee claimed the co-worker slapped her across the face three times. She reported this to the employer and filed a police report, but her employment was terminated the same day after 19 years of service.

Not surprisingly, the employee won a claim of wrongful dismissal and the employer was ordered to compensate her for lost pay in lieu of reasonable notice. The court also found the employer was guilty of bad-faith conduct when it failed to investigate the employee’s harassment complaints or discipline her abusive co-worker, terminated her as a reprisal for her complaints, and didn’t provide her with her statutory entitlements upon termination.

This warranted an extra $50,000 in aggravated damages, for a total award of more than $194,000.

It’s likely that when the company president in the above case received the employee’s complaint, it was the last thing he wanted to have to deal with, and he most likely felt he didn’t have time to deal with it. But it doesn’t really matter, because he legally had to deal with it. Failing to prioritize the complaint and not getting around to investigating it spelled trouble in the end for the employer — trouble that was compounded when the employer dismissed the employee rather than deal with her continuing complaints.

The employee already was entitled to a good amount of common law reasonable notice, with 19 years of service, but the aggravated damages just piled on the high cost of the employer’s poor handling of the affair.

It’s not a good idea to push workplace harassment complaints to the side. If a company doesn’t have time to address them, then it’s going to have to make time to write some big cheques later.

Workplace harassment on the agenda as Canadian police chiefs meet in Calgary

Workplace harassment on the agenda as Canadian police chiefs meet in Calgary

August 15th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Global News The Canadian Press

 

How to deal with bullying and harassment in the workplace is to be discussed as Canada’s police chiefs gather in Alberta for their annual meeting.

The conference of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police in Calgary has attracted 425 delegates and is to address a number of human resources issues, including how to create a safer and healthier environment for employees.

The RCMP recently settled class-action lawsuits that will pay out millions to compensate for discrimination, bullying and harassment of female employees over the last 45 years.

 

Similar concerns have been expressed by female officers in Calgary, which prompted a review of the force’s human resources branch.

“Obviously the topic is right on point. We’ve brought speakers in from all over the world to speak on these types of issues,” Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld told a news conference Monday.

“We’ve got lots of work to do and … as our environment changes and as society changes we will continue to have work. The work we’re talking about here I don’t think will ever be done.”

 

Association president, Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer, said harassment exists in many different professions, but none has the same level of scrutiny as law enforcement.

“We’re always under the microscope for everything we do … rightfully so because we have extraordinary powers in society and everything that we’re doing tends to come to the forefront more than other occupations.”

Lessons learned from the RCMP lawsuits are likely to be discussed at the three-day conference, Palmer said.

“Nobody is doing this perfectly and there’s no magic bullet that anyone’s found.”

Palmer added that attitudes are changing as an increasing number of veteran officers continue to retire.

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