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Labour & Employment Law Blog

Harassment and Bullying in the Workplace?

We get calls and emails daily from employees who are experiencing harassment or bullying in the workplace. They are often scared, frustrated, and really wanting someone to help them navigate these tough issues. There are numerous ways in which an employee can be harassed or bullied while at work. One of the most common ways is verbal or written harassment where an employee is subjected to yelling or swearing, insults, inappropriate comments or jokes, unrelenting criticisms, or accusations and even threats. These comments or statements can be made directly to the employee or are also commonly contained in email correspondence. Normally these comments or statements are part of a wider set of actions rather than one single event. They can come from one individual (like the employee’s manager, supervisor or colleague) or a group.

However, harassment or bullying at work often takes more subtle forms than what is listed above. For instance, there could be the use of contrived disciplinary measures or arbitrary performance expectations suddenly imposed on the employee which would be impossible or near impossible for the employee to meet those performance expectations. Another common example is an employer forcing an employee to undergo false or misleading performance reviews to contrive a situation where the employee would likely quit or resign.

Another common type of harassment that we see at Zeilikman Law is where a supervisor or manager will purposely ignore or isolate an employee. The supervisor or manager may also withhold important information from the employee that they need to perform a task, the purpose of which would be to ensure that the employee either fails at the task or performs the task badly.
The bottom line is that the aim of workplace bullying, or harassment is to intimidate and humiliate the employee (often in an effort to get the employee to quit or resign) and to create a toxic work environment for the employee. The employee is often greatly harmed by workplace harassment and it can really negatively affects their wellbeing both physically and emotionally. It is important to contact an employment lawyer if you experience workplace bullying so that they can assist you in learning what your employment rights are and what the right course of action it is to take according to your own matter.

What should I do if I quit because of workplace bullying or harassment?

You should contact Zeilikman Law as soon as possible. This is because constructive dismissal is generally triggered when an employee experiences bullying or harassment while at work. This will allow the employee to claim from the employer full termination and / or severance pay in addition to other possible damages stemming from the harassment regardless of whether the employee quit or resigned. The law in Ontario is that in cases of bullying and harassment, the employee could have been forced to quit as it may be unreasonable for them to continue to work under those toxic conditions.

Why Call Zeilikman Law

To put it simply: we’re good at what we do. We will guide you in your legal matter to ensure that you have the most effective and efficient result possible. We will ensure that you understand what legal rights you have and will inform you what steps to take to make sure that you can enforce those rights. You will not just be a number for us, and we will do our best to ensure you that the needs specific to your case are met with vigorous advocacy and professionalism.

The above article is for general information purposes only, does not constitute legal advice or create a solicitor-client relationship. Because each case is unique and factually driven, if you have concerns with regard to the foregoing issues, please make an appointment with one of our lawyers or a qualified legal practitioner elsewhere. We represent clients in the Greater Toronto Area including Toronto, North York, Markham, Vaughan, Thornhill, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Mississauga, Barrie, Ajax, Whitby, Pickering and Oshawa.