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VICTORIA—We’re used to hearing about bullies at school, but not all bullies grow up and get over it. Some never learn better behavior. They become the adult bullies too many of us have run into in the workplace.

In an innovative conference, CUPE Vancouver Island locals, have invited leading experts on workplace bullying to work with members through a week-long series of workshops and lectures aimed at breaking the cycle of bullying in the workplace. Keynote speakers include Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, and Dr. Gary Namie, co-founder of the Workplace Bullying Institute. Members will attend a range of sessions exploring the psychological, legal, human rights, health and safety and legislative aspects of the issue.

The Creating Respectful Workplaces Conference is funded by CUPE BC, which has played a leading role on raising awareness of workplace bullying, with additional support from CUPE National. CUPE is working in partnership with the University of Victoria’s Equity and Human Rights Office to co-sponsor the event.

In evening sessions open to the public, Barbara Coloroso speaks on November 11 and Dr. Gary Namie will speak on November 13. A panel discussion on bullying and psychological harassment will be held on November 12. All sessions are free and open to the public, but limited seating means that tickets are required. Tickets are available from the UVic Box Office at 250-721-8480 or online at auditorium.uvic.ca. All public sessions begin at 8:00 p.m.

Regardless of when or where it happens, bullying leads to devastating consequences. The vicious cycle of bullies, bullied adults afraid to report the behavior, and complacent bystanders turns a workplace into a place where no one feels safe. A worker targeted by a bully, will be:

  • less confident in their work
  • less productive
  • feel scared, stressed, anxious or depressed
  • have their life outside of work affected, e.g. study, relationships
  • want to stay away from work (more than usual)
  • feel unable to trust their employer or the people they work with
  • lack confidence and self-esteem in themselves and their work
  • have physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, backaches, sleep problems.

For more information on the conference, go to: uvic.ca

CUPE members can also contact Doug Sprenger (UVic CUPE) at 250-812-8484 or dsprenge@uvic.ca for more information.