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On February 23, HEU members across B.C. observed national anti-bullying day with a variety of activities to raise awareness about the harmful impact of violence, harassment and bullying in the workplace.

The reality of violence and harassment on the job are not new, but in recent years many HEU members report that their work sites have become pressure cookers, where workers are subjected to varying kinds of aggression from patients, clients, managers and co-workers.

Bullying may be subtle or overt. But in either case, when bullying enters the work environment, it becomes a systemic problem that affects everyone. And it not only damages working relationships, it can also create serious health issues and safety hazards.

Fortunately, there are tools and resources available. The right to a safe workplace is recognized in law through B.C.’s Human Rights Code, and reinforced in most collective agreements. And employers have a legal responsibility to uphold workers’ right to a safe working environment.

If you are experiencing bullying behaviours in your workplace, talk to your shop steward and consider the steps you can take to resolve the issue. And remember, we all have a role to play – whether it’s holding the employer to account for providing a safe, harassment-free work environment, or treating each other in a respectful and professional way.