Examining workplace bullying in Canada



Title Examining workplace bullying in Canada: a content analysis of Canadian arbitration and court cases
Author(s) Jodi Murphy
Date 2012
Institution University of Prince Edward Island
Supervisor(s) Wendy Carroll
Degree earned Master of Business Administration
Place published Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Abstract Workplace bullying is costing organizations millions if not more each year. The costs associated with workplace bullying come from loss of productivity, legal settlements and loss of good employees who have been bullied and chose to leave the organization. Workplace bullying has negative effects on the target of the bullying, the other employees who witnessed the incidents, the organization as a whole and some believe there are societal consequences as well. To examine the current state of workplace bullying in Canada an analysis was completed on the legislation in Canada as well as a content analysis on Canadian Supreme Court and arbitration cases pertaining to workplace bullying. This study illustrates that for such a serious problem Canada has been slow to implement legislation which would make workplace bullying illegal. There is no national legislation in Canada dealing with workplace bullying and only four provinces have adopted provincial legislation to make workplace bullying illegal. Those provinces are Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. There are an increasing number of court cases dealing with workplace bullying in recent years. This study discusses some key descriptive statistics such as the sex of the bully and sex of the target, industry, and type of bullying ie: boss-to-employee, employee-to-employee or employee-to-boss. The directions and decisions of the arbitrators and judges were examined closely to uncover common themes. The themes included (1) precedence for constructive dismissal; (2) lack of proof, (3) harassment policies; (4) the bully not taking responsibility for their actions; (5) repairing the employment relationship; (6) credibility and (7) progressive discipline programs. This analysis of Canadian court cases can provide insight to academics and practitioners into the position of workplace bullying in Canada and the direction the courts are taking.
Use/Reproduction In presenting this signature project report in partial fulfilment of the requirements for a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Prince Edward Island, the author has agreed that the Robertson Library, University of Prince Edward Island, may make this signature project freely available for inspection and gives permission to add an electronic version of the signature project to the Digital Repository at the University of Prince Edward Island. Moreover the author further agrees that permission for extensive copying of this signature project report for scholarly purposes may be granted by the professor or professors who supervised the author’s project work, or, in their absence, by the Dean of the School of Business. It is understood that any copying or publication or use of this signature project report or parts thereof for financial gain shall not be allowed without the author’s written permission. It is also understood that due recognition shall be given to the author and to the University of Prince Edward Island in any scholarly use which may be made of any material in the author’s report.

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