Stand up to bullying with Pink Shirt Day

RAdm Truelove, CPO1 Helston and Capt(N) Knippel show support for Pink Shirt Day

Maritime Forces Pacific (MARPAC) Commanding Officer RAdm Bill Truelove (centre), with Formation Chief CPO1 Paul Helston (left), and MARPAC Chief of Staff Capt(N) Mike Knippel (right) show their support for Pink Shirt Day.

What is bullying?
Bullying is described as an act(s) or verbal comment(s) that could mentally hurt or isolate a person in the workplace.

Sometimes, bullying can involve physical contact as well. Bullying can include, but is not limited to, repeated incidents or a pattern of behaviour that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.

Some examples of bullying are:
•    Offensive jokes or comments
•    Insults
•    Belittling opinions
•    Withholding necessary information or intentionally giving misinformation
•    Excluding or isolating the target
•    Physical abuse or threats of abuse

Bullying in the workplace is often more subtle, and harmful, than direct verbal and physical abuse. Bullying behaviours are toxic not only to the individual and their family and friends, but also to bystanders and the entire organization.

What to do if you feel bullied
There are a number of steps you can take if you are feeling bullied by someone at work.

If you feel safe doing so, talk firmly to the bully about stopping the unwanted behaviour. You may wish to arrange a witness to be present for this conversation.

Make sure you keep a factual journal with detailed descriptions of the events- including date, time, witnesses, and outcome.

Ensure you keep copies of any written communication from this person.

Keep job appraisals and performance reviews.

If bullying persists, talk to a trusted supervisor, a union representative, the Good Working Relations Advisors, the Unit Harassment Advisors, General Safety Officers, or the Employee Assistance Program to make a plan of action, but do not retaliate.

What to do if you see others being bullied
Bullying behaviour thrives where co-workers do not get involved. Don’t forget the bullying affects everyone in the workplace, and the organization as a whole. If you see someone being bullied, you can:
•    Offer support and compassion to the target.
•    Encourage the target in reporting the bullying incident(s).
•    Report the incident(s) yourself.
•    Keep a record of bullying incident(s) that you are witness to.

Differences of opinion and occasional conflict will be present in the workplace, yet unreasonable behaviour that offends or harms any person should never be tolerated. We must work together to dismantle toxic bullying behaviour in the workplace.

There are many internal and external resources available to you. You can visit the EAP website at http://esquimalt.mil.ca/eap/index.htm or the EAP library in D29, room 105, for resources and information on bullying. For further assistance, you can contact the EAP manager, Nora Johnson at 250-363-7968, or the 24-hr Member Assistance Program number at 1-800-268-7708. Additionally, you may wish to contact Frankie Spencer, with Formation Safety, at 250-363-7979, or visit http://esquimalt.mil.ca/fse/Formation_Safety/FSafe_Programs_WEB_2010/Workplace_Violence_WEB_2010/Workplace%20Violence%20Prevention_WEB_2010.htm.

Note: All information is intended for guidance purposes only; it is not intended to replace professional counselling.

-Leslie Bragg, Employee Assistance Program

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