PEI

Laws needed to stop bullying in health care

About 40 per cent of healthcare workers in Canada have faced some form of bullying from their colleagues, says an American psychologist, and more provinces need to enact legislation to protect them.

Provinces need to enact workplace bullying legislation, says Dr. Gary Namie

About 40 per cent of health care workers in Canada have faced some form of bullying from their colleagues, says an American psychologist, and more provinces need to enact legislation to protect them.

Health care workers need legislation to protect them from bullying, says Dr. Gary Namie. (Workplace Bullying Institute)

Dr. Gary Namie of the Workplace Bullying Institute is in Charlottetown to speak at the Fostering Healthier Workplaces conference, being held Friday by the Association of Registered Nurses of P.E.I. The conference is focused on bullying of nurses in the workplace, often by other nurses.

Amongst nurses, said Namie, the risk of being bullied is higher than for other health care workers, with about half being bullied. Those in provinces without legislation face a greater risk still, he said.

"When prompted by the risk of violating a law employers will act. And when employers act they can fix it. All they have to do is declare it's unacceptable, draft a policy and faithfully enforce it," said Namie.

"Sounds easy, I know. I'm being glib for a reason. Trouble is employers don't like to do that. They don't like to admit that it happens in their place. They should not feel ashamed. It happens everywhere."

Five provinces in Canada have enacted legislation to deal with workplace bullying: British Columbia, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Manitoba.

For mobile device users: Should all provinces enact workplace bullying legislation?

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