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Workplace Bullying: Limiting Liability for Personal Harassment

NCJ Number
Canadian Police Chief Magazine Dated: October 2003 Pages: 9-11
Lynda Bordeleau
Date Published
October 2003
3 pages
This article defines personal harassment and makes recommendations for the development of a proactive policy framework to control workplace personal harassment within police departments.
Workplace harassment is a difficult concept to define, especially personal harassment. Not every conflict that causes stress to a worker can be defined as harassment; the author suggests that harassment is a serious label that should only be used when the outcome of an action or exchange causes serious pain and suffering to an employee. Some general definitions of workplace harassment are offered, followed by more specific examples of personal harassment in the workplace. In short, a workplace conflict is labeled as harassment if the purpose or the outcome of the conflict unreasonably interferes with an individual’s job performance or if the conflict creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Finally, the article explores the proactive development of policy frameworks that encourage a risk-free environment. Recommendations for policy implementation include setting out clear definitions of harassment, responding swiftly to harassment allegations, developing a process of complaint and investigation, and ongoing training for supervisors. In closing, the author cautions employers not to overlook workplace bullying or personal harassment issues when striving to create a harassment free work environment. Notes


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