'Get cancer and die': Campaign urges call centre workers to hang up on abuse
Call centre employees working at some of Canada's biggest companies experience violent, racist and sexist abuse as part of their job on a regular basis.
Michelle Dey who has worked at a call centre for 25 years tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti she's had her fair share of verbal abuse with "numerous scenarios of sexual or racial harassment, ethnic or homophobic slurs."
Dey says that employees are expected to control a call. "You can try to get the call back on track but to actually physically hang up on the client is not tolerated," she says.
"But unfortunately in some of those type of calls you're not really dealing with an actual customer so to ... try to resolve an issue makes it a very difficult situation."
"After a while it builds up and then it does start to affect how you feel emotionally and physically in your life."
The United Steel Workers Union recognizes abuse that call centre workers face and recently launched a campaign, Hang Up On Abuse that aims to stop the de-humanizing treatment of its call centre members by the public.
"How do you get off of a line and try to go to the next caller when you've just been berated in regards to sexual acts or whatever the circumstances are?" says Ken Neumann, national director of the United Steelworkers Union.
He tells Tremonti the campaign is for employers to reach out and stand by the side of the workers.
"People have to be assured that there'll will be no repercussions if they hang up when someone calls in and is abusive."
"The other thing is that if there is abusive and threatening calls ... these calls also need to be turned over to the authorities."
Listen to the full segment at the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Sujata Berry.