Ontario Government Employee Union Attacks Workplace Violence and Verbal Abuse That Targets Government Workers
While unions have an obligation to support and aid their members, rather than consider all aspects of any problem, they can be a good source of information about issues in the workplace.
In a report entitled: Violence and
at Work: Violence against workers is the direct consequence
of an unsafe workplace. the Ontario Public Sector Empoyees Union maps out the terrain of abuse levelled at government employees, and explains its position on what the government should be doing to counteract growing numbers of attacks on government workers.
Whether you are an OPSEU member, or work in government, this is a worthwhile read. You may not agree with all of the suggestions or conclusions, but it will raise your awareness of the workplace violence issues in government.
Here are a few excerpts:
Scary Examples of Government Employees Targeted For Abuse
What Is Harrassment In The Workplace?
The report explains harrassment as follows -- an approach which highlights verbal abuse as harrassment.
The Act defines workplace harassment as:
Engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.
Forms of harassment include:
Verbal abuse: Unwanted comment that offends, humiliates or engenders anxiety or fear. Bullying: Repeated, mistreatment, verbal abuse, or conduct which is threatening, umiliating, intimidating, or sabotage that interferes with work.
Sexual harassment: Any unwanted verbal or physical sexual attention including patting or touching, sexual invitation, leering, displaying pornography, stalking and rape.
Racial/religious harassment: Any unwanted comment referring to the worker’s religious affiliation or racial background that attempts to humiliate or demean a worker
Deleterious Effects of Harrassment
What are the health
effects of harassment?
Workers who are subject to constant verbal abuse or harassment or who work with constant fear of assault are chronically stressed.
They are at high risk for digestive disorders and heart disease. A daily dose of emotional stress can lead to serious physical and psychological problems. Common symptoms include chronic fatigue, fear and anxiety, depression and substance abuse, and possibly even symptoms similar to those seen in post-traumatic stress disorder