Posts in Respect in the Workplace

globe and mail, abuse, workplace bullying, bullying, harassment, job bullying

More than half of us have been bullied at work. Ignoring it won’t work for much longer

February 22nd, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: The Globe and Mail

When Craig Boyer launched a lawsuit against his former employer, Callidus Capital Corp., he claimed he was the victim of a “poisoned workplace.” Boyer, formerly chief underwriter at Callidus, alleged that the company’s management style included “berating and belittling employees by email and verbally,” and “on occasion, physical abuse.”

Callidus, which denies the allegations, countersued Boyer for $150 million, alleging that his claims of abuse were designed to distract from his own misconduct, including as a boss. “Indeed, Boyer himself developed a reputation for being very difficult on those employees who reported to him,” reads its counterclaim.

None of the allegations have been proven, and the case is still before the court. But the nasty legal battle underscores how damaging allegations of workplace bullying can be to both companies and employees. And the problem may be more widespread than you think.

A shocking 55% of surveyed Canadians reported experiencing bullying in the workplace, including name-calling, physical aggression and online taunts, according to a 2018 poll by Forum Research. Worse still, the study found that only onethird of companies took action to stop the perpetrators.

That can be a costly mistake, considering that bullied employees take twice as many sick days as their peers, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada. All told, Statistics Canada estimates the cost of employee absence due to bullying and harassment is roughly $19 billion per year. In addition to absenteeism, companies with toxic workplace cultures suffer from lost productivity, eroded profits and employee turnover as top talent flees, the commission says.

“These issues need to be the priority from onboarding to the CEO,” says Sheldon Kennedy, a former hockey player, abuse survivor and co-founder of the Respect Group, which is partnering with KPMG Canada to train companies to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination in the workplace. He says creating a culture of respect starts with the tone from the top. “This will require a willingness from leadership to face the hard truths about what is happening inside their walls,” says Soula Courlas, a partner at KPMG. “Bullying can be subtle. Education is key to helping people recognize it.”

It’s not easy to investigate complaints. A demanding boss isn’t necessarily a bully, and it’s possible that some people could lie to discredit others. Best practices include a formal complaints process, a no-reprisals policy, confidential whistleblower lines and due diligence on new hires.

Both managers and their teams should be trained on how to respond if they experience or witness bullying. Knowing what to say in the moment, through a prepared script, is key to changing workplace culture, experts say. MORE

gender, gender diversity, lgbt, lgbtqq, lgbtq, inclusion in the workplace Canada, workplace inclusion, inclusive workplaces, Canada inclusion, research diversity, diverse workplace practices, Harvard business review

Research: When Gender Diversity Makes Firms More Productive

February 19th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Harvard Business Review

FEBRUARY 11, 2019

The business world has long debated the effect of gender diversity on business outcomes. Does diversity make a company more productive?

Many say yes. Some researchers argue that gender diversity leads to more innovative thinking and signals to investors that a company is competently run.

Others say no. Conflicting research indicates that gender diversity can sometimes harm firm performance.

But most research has looked at this question within a single country or industry. As a result, their findings are likely limited to that country or industry. This got us thinking: Could the conflicting research be due to differences in context? Region and industry might affect people’s opinions of gender diversity, and this might then affect whether or not diversity leads to stronger outcomes.

In research one of us (Professor Zhang) conducted, this is exactly what was found. In a study of 1,069 leading firms across 35 countries and 24 industries, we found that gender diversity relates to more productive companies, as measured by market value and revenue, only in contexts where gender diversity is viewed as “normatively” accepted. By normative acceptance, we mean a widespread cultural belief that gender diversity is important.

In other words, beliefs about gender diversity create a self-fulfilling cycle. Countries and industries that view gender diversity as important capture benefits from it. Those that don’t, don’t.

For example, we found that the percentage of women in telecommunication companies in Western Europe, historically a relatively gender-inclusive context, was significantly tied to a company’s market value. Specifically, a 10% increase in Blau’s gender diversity index (see more in our sidebar) related to a roughly 7% increase in market value. However, in the energy sector in the Middle East, which has historically not been gender-inclusive, firms’ gender diversity was unrelated to company performance. MORE

Harvard business review, Research-Based Advice for Women Working in Male-Dominated Fields, workplace, research, women, women in the workplace, workplace equality, female equality, research based evidence, safe work environments

Research-Based Advice for Women Working in Male-Dominated Fields

February 19th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Harvard Business Review

FEBRUARY 13, 2019

When it comes to gender equality in the workplace, organizations are keeping a slow — and I do mean slow— and steady pace.

In 2018, 26 years after the first “Year of the Woman” in 1992, a historic 102 women were elected to the House of Representatives. However, they still represent less than 25% of the total number of elected officials in the chamber. A record 248 women were appointed board directors among some of the most prominent companies in the U.S., but they make up just 31% of total new board directors selected last year. And while Donna Strickland became the first woman in 55 years — and the third woman overall — to win the Noble Prize in physics, women are still grossly underrepresented in many STEM fields and are more likely to face gender discrimination on the job.

In other words, progress does not mean parity. And, working in a climate where you’ve been historically excluded — like in research labs, corporate boardrooms, or even Congress — can lead women to question their abilities.

As president of Barnard College and a cognitive scientist by training, I’ve spent years observing what causes self-doubt, particularly for women in male-dominated fields. I’ve observed that there are numerous factors at play. Chief among them: gender bias that comes in both explicit and subtler forms.

The end result? Highly skilled women succumb to stereotype-driven expectations. It begins early when girls as young as six stop believing that girls are the smart ones, while boys continue to believe their gender is gifted. As women get older, these stereotypes discourage them from pursuing careers thought to be typically reserved for men. And, with fewer women in a field, subsequent generations  of women are deterred from pursuing them.

It’s a vicious cycle, but it can be broken. MORE

diversity in the workplace, workplace, diversity, inclusion, workplace inclusion, lgbtq, metro, women in the workplace, safety workplace

Survey: What Diversity and Inclusion Policies Do Employees Actually Want?

February 19th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

SOURCE: Harvard Business Review

FEBRUARY 05, 2019

We know that diversity matters. In addition to being the right thing to strive for, having a diverse workforce helps companies acquire and retain the best talent, build employee engagement, increase innovation, and improve business performance. Yet corporate diversity still lags, especially at the top levels, which continue to be dominated by white, heterosexual men.

It’s not that effort isn’t being made. As a senior partner at the Boston Consulting Group and head of our firm’s diversity efforts, I know companies are investing in diversity programs. In fact, our research in 14 countries shows that 96-98% of large companies (above 1,000 employees) have such programs.

And yet, despite this investment, we’ve found that around three quarters of employees in underrepresented groups — women, racial and ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ employees — do not feel they’ve personally benefited from their companies’ diversity and inclusion programs.

So what should companies do to make real progress?

We surveyed over 16,000 employees in 14 countries around the world to see what obstacles they face, which diversity and inclusion interventions are used at their workplace, and which they find most effective for women, racial or ethnic minorities (this data is from the U.S., UK, and Brazil only), and LGBTQ employees.

We found that members of majority groups continue to underestimate the obstacles – particularly the pervasive, day-to-day bias – that diverse employees face. Half of all diverse employees stated that they see bias as part of their day-to-day work experience. Half said that they don’t believe their companies have the right mechanisms in place to ensure that major decisions (such as who receives promotions and stretch assignments) are free from bias. By contrast, white heterosexual males, who tend to dominate the leadership ranks, were 13 percentage points more likely to say that the day-to-day experience and major decisions are free of bias.

It’s no surprise then that when employees ranked the efficacy of diversity interventions, there was consensus about getting back to basics and rooting out bias.  The top-ranked interventions included robust, well-crafted, and consistently followed antidiscrimination policies; effective training to mitigate biases and increase cultural competency; and removing bias from evaluation and promotion decisions. These should be priorities for any organization that wants to improve diversity.


respect, workplace, sexual harassment, weinstein, harvey, metoo, #metoo, #metoo movement, workplace safety, workplace training, prevention

Why Open Secrets Exist in Organizations

February 6th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: Harvard Business Review

JANUARY 14, 2019

In 2017, the New York Times broke the now widely-known scandal of media mogul Harvey Weinstein’s apparent decades-long pattern of sexual abuse and harassment. The story came as a shock to the public. However, as details emerged it became clear that Weinstein’s transgressions were not unknown to Hollywood insiders. They were, in fact, an “open secret.”

This raises the question: Why do issues remain open secrets in organizations where multiple employees know about a problem or a concern, but no one publicly brings it up? We explore this in a set of studies recently published in the Academy of Management Journal.

We found that as issues become more common knowledge among frontline employees, the willingness of any individual employee to bring those issues to the attention of the top-management decreased. Instead of speaking up, what we observed among our participants was something like the bystander effect, psychological phenomena describing how people stay on the sidelines as passive bystanders, waiting for others to act rather than do something themselves.

The bystander effect can be understood with an example: Imagine Jane, a member of an engineering team at a company. The top management of the company is eager to release a product to the market before competitors mimic it. However, a bug in the product has been uncovered, and someone needs to bring up the issue. When Jane is the only member of the team who is aware of the issue, she would feel a personal responsibility to alert her managers of the problem. But, when her team members—John, Jack, and Julia—also know about the bug, Jane might feel that approaching leadership isn’t solely her responsibility. She becomes less likely to speak up, and for the very same reason, John, Jack, and Julia are also less likely to do so.

Indeed, our research shows that when multiple individuals know about an issue, each of them experiences a diffusion of responsibility or the sense that they need not personally take on any costs or burden associated with speaking up. They feel that others are equally knowledgeable and, hence, capable of raising the issue with top management. They find it convenient to psychologically pass on the accountability of speaking up to others, and this makes them less likely to speak up themselves.

Considered from this perspective, it starts to make more sense why problems—such as harassment and abusive supervision—can remain unaddressed for so long without anyone taking action. Voicing such issues is, after all, risky, as individuals can often be punished or put down for speaking up. Thus, when Jane, John, Jack and Julia all know about the same concern, each tends to wait for one of the others to take on the risks of speaking up and feels less personally guilt or duty-bound to bring up the issue him or herself. The bystander effect kicks in, and diffusion of responsibility prevents issues from percolating up to managers. MORE

respect, equality, workplace, best workplaces

America’s Best Employers For Diversity 2019

February 6th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Source: FORBES 



While it may often seem that no employer is getting diversity and inclusion right, many organizations have struggled to cultivate cultures that welcome and support all workers. Headlines have abounded, with incidents ranging from the unconscious bias incidentat Starbucks in Philadelphia in April that resulted in the arrests of two African-American men for asking to use the bathroom to the age discrimination lawsuit filed at IBM after the company dismissed more than 20,000 older workers in five years to the countless sexual harassment allegations that have shaken workplaces across the nation. Yet at the same time, some companies have been making progress.

Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to create our second annual ranking of America’s best employers for diversity. The list was compiled by surveying 50,000 Americans working for businesses with at least 1,000 employees, and it features some businesses whose appearance on the list, in light of recent events, may come as a surprise. Starbucks and IBM, for example, both appear, their claims to the No. 44 and No. 217 spots a reflection of the thoughts of their respective workforces. MORE

, respect group kpmg respect, workplace harassment work, harassment, prevention, harassment prevention training, abuse training, e-learning, online education, workplace safety, sexual harassment training workplace,

Addressing bullying and harassment in the workplace must be a business priority

January 30th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace, Sheldon Kennedy




Jan 29, 2019, 11:19 ET

Sheldon Kennedy and panel of leading voices on workplace issues say today’s employees will no longer stand by and tolerate abuse

Organizations need to make workplace respect a priority or risk losing their people and damaging their reputations

TORONTOJan. 29, 2019 /CNW/ – Organizations that don’t seriously address bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in their workplaces will struggle to attract and retain good employees and suffer from poor productivity, concluded a panel of leading voices on workplace issues speaking at the National Club in Toronto.

“Organizations need to tackle this uncomfortable topic, or risk falling behind,” says Sheldon Kennedy, abuse survivor and co-founder of the Respect Group. “They need to ask the tough questions to determine if this type of behaviour is happening in their organization. They need to be prepared for what they might find and be committed to taking action to address and end it.”

Kennedy joined a panel of leading voices at the National Club to talk about the cause, impact and solutions to workplace abuse and harassment. Joining him on the panel were Louise Bradley, President & CEO, Mental Health Commission of CanadaPamela Jeffery, President, The Pamela Jeffery Group and Soula Courlas, Partner, KPMG.

The panel noted that ignoring the issue not only affects employee retention but it hurts productivity and profitability. Experiencing BAHD in the workplace can trigger mental health problems and illnesses, which, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, are the leading cause of short‐ and long‐term disability in Canada. The economic burden has been estimated at $51‐billion per year, almost $20‐billion of which comes from workplace losses.

While pointing out the risks of not addressing the issue, the panelists noted that many organizations are taking real action to address the issue. “This isn’t just about focusing on the bad individuals,” says Kennedy. “Ninety-eight per cent of individuals want to be good. So focus on them and give them the tools to be better.”

For those companies who don’t know where to start they agreed that the most important step was instituting a culture of respect and zero tolerance for toxic behaviour in their organizations – a tone that needs to come straight from the CEO or the top of the organization.

“This will require a willingness from leadership to face the hard truths about what is happening inside their walls,” says Courlas, who leads KPMG’s People and Change Advisory business. “Bullying can be subtle. Education is key to helping people recognize it. Leadership has a duty to proactively work towards eradicating this type of behaviour, which will inevitably help unlock the best of their people.”

The panel also focused on the impact of changing demographics in the workplace and the importance Millennials, who will soon comprise the largest age group in the workforce, place on culture and organizational values. “Millennials care deeply about an organization’s values, and want to work with organizations who mirror their own,” adds Courlas. “Employers will need to meet their Millennial employees’ expectations or risk losing this valuable source of talent and future leaders. Millennials have also grown up in the age of social media and have seen its impact related to cyber-bullying and online harassment. It is completely unacceptable online and therefore the same expectation needs to be upheld in the workforce.”

Kennedy adds that the Millennial generation doesn’t attach the same stigma to being a victim of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination as previous generations. “They are far less prone to staying quiet if they witness such behaviour. Systems need to be in place to support them in raising these types of instances and they need to see them being dealt with effectively. If not, they will leave and tell everyone why.”

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP, an Audit, Tax and Advisory firm ( is a limited liability partnership, established under the laws of Ontario, and the Canadian member firm of KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”). KPMG has over 7,000 professionals/employees in 38 locations across Canada serving private and public sector clients. KPMG is consistently recognized as an employer of choice and one of the best places to work in the country.

The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International, a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity, and describes itself as such.

About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group ( was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Respect Group is made up of a team of over 30 talented individuals whose passion is to create a global culture of Respect. As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (


For further information regarding this partnership and Respect in the Workplace: Danica Kelly,

sheldon kennedy, respect group, KPMG canada, workplace, work harassment, harassment in the workplace, harassment prevention, online training

Breakfast Television: Sheldon Kennedy Discusses Respect Group KPMG Partnership

January 23rd, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Our Co-Founder Sheldon Kennedy joined Breakfast Television this morning to talk about our partnership with KPMG and how organizations can build a safe and respectful environment for their employees. You can watch the full clip here:


workplace harassment training, abuse prevention, harassment online courses, canada harassment work, workplace abuse prevention, harassment training courses, the grand yyc

The Grand Joins The Movement With Respect Group Inc.

January 22nd, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

Jan 22, 2019, 08:00 ET


CALGARY – JANUARY 22, 2019/ – The Grand in Calgary Canada announced today that it will become the first arts organization in North America to become Respect Certified. The Grand has Joined the Movement with Respect Group, a forward-thinking organization founded by former NHLer turned victims’ rights crusader Sheldon Kennedy to deliver training to equip employees with the education and skills needed to prevent bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD) in the workplace.


“Programs are one thing, making them a requirement for all members of the organization is about leadership and accountability,” said Sheldon Kennedy, Co-Founder of Respect Group. “Congratulations to the Grand for moving how we treat one another from the Policy category to the Priority category!”

“We at The GRAND are thrilled to be collaborating with Sheldon Kennedy and the Respect Group to help our theatre enhance its workplace culture, not only to eliminate unacceptable behaviours, but to create a positive and supportive environment that unlocks the diverse skills and ideas of our most valuable asset – our people.” – Tony McGrath, Chief Executive Officer, The Grand.


About The Grand

The Grand is situated on the land where the Bow River meets the Elbow River. The traditional Blackfoot name of this place is Mohkinstsis, which is also referred to as the City of Calgary. We honour and acknowledge Mohkinstsis and the traditional Treaty 7 territory and oral practices of the Blackfoot confederacy: Siksika, Kainai, Piikani as well as the Iyarhe Nakoda and Tsuut’ina nations who also call this place home.  We also acknowledge that this territory is home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland.

The Grand is a not-for-profit organization (Charitable Registration: 134483981 RR0001). Since 2006, the theatre has been a centre for creation and presentation of contemporary performance from Calgary, Canada, and around the world. In 2019, we embark on a new chapter with a new vision for the future.


About Respect Group Inc.

Respect Group ( was incorporated on April 5th, 2004 by co-founders, Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil, to pursue their common passion: the prevention of bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination (BAHD). Respect Group is made up of a team of over 30 talented individuals whose passion is to create a global culture of Respect. As Canada’s leading on-line provider of prevention education related to BAHD, Respect Group has certified over 1.2 Million Canadians involved in sport, schools and the workplace. Respect Group is a Certified B Corporation (


For further information:

harassment, newfoundland, workplace bullying, workplace harassment, canada, harassment prevention, prevention training, harassment legislation

With 70% rise in workplace violence in past 10 years, new rules welcome, says WorkplaceNL

January 18th, 2019 Respect in the Workplace

WorkplaceNL accepted more than 230 claims of violence in the workplace, last year, says CEO

Over the last 10 years, workplace violence has increased by over 70 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Dennis Hogan, CEO of WorkplaceNL.

He revealed the startling statistic Wednesday at a government event announcing changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“In 2018 alone, WorkplaceNL accepted more than 230 claims that were caused by violence in the workplace, and that includes worker-on-worker violence,” he said.

Eighty-five per cent of those claims came from the health-care sector, he said, “particulary in relation to long-term care facilities and patients that may have cognitive challenges and impairments.”

The rest of the claims come largely from the service industry, he said.

Hogan says workplace violence has increased by over 70 per cent in the last 10 years. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

The regulation changes announced Wednesday by Sherry Gambin-Walsh, minister of Service NL, cover worker-on-worker violence and harrassment for the first time and include the following new rules:

  • Employers must develop and implement a plan to prevent harrassment, as well as a plan for dealing with dealing with harassment.
  • Employers must investigate any complaints and keep all informatin shared between them and the employee confidential.
  • Employers must take harassment-prevention training.

The changes take effect Jan. 1, 2020, leaving one year for employers to develop harassment-prevention plans, risk assessments and conduct training, which will be provided for free by WorkplaceNL.

Changes are ‘monumental’

Paula Corcoran knows first-hand how workplace harassment can bring a life and a career to a halt.

She says it took her seven years to recover from the harassment and abuse she suffered for three years while working as an aircraft technician.

“The sexual harassment, the innuendos, the conversations that often happened around the quality of my work, the rationale behind my ability to do my work, the rationale behind my ability to be promoted were often — sometimes inadvertently, but sometimes directly — linked to my ability to perform sexual duties, for example,” she said.

“It is very difficult to be faced with that type of harassment and innuendos, and undermined on a daily basis.”

Paula Corcoran says she suffered bullying and harassment at her workplace for three years, and that she had to change careers because of it. (Mark Quinn/CBC)

She said she was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and social anxiety because of what she endured and that she had to switch careers entirely because of it; she now works in the mental health and addicitons sector.

The regulation changes announced Wednesday are “monumental,” she said, for both employees and employers.

“If this regulation was in place when I was working, I feel that the harassment would have been challenged and taken care of in the first months of my employment, and I would have continued in that field. I really enjoyed working in the aircraft industry.”

Richard Alexander, the executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Employers’ Council, agreed with Corcoran that employers will also be better off with the new regulations.

“This is a very positive announcement,” he said.

“I think where this will help is smaller employers that never really thought about the potential for this in workplaces.”

Changes come after scandal in the House

Harassment is a familiar topic for Gambin-Walsh, who filed a complaint against fellow MHA Eddie Joyce, while they were both cabinet ministers.

The ensuing investigation became a matter of great public interest and scrutiny, leading to many elected officials calling for a better way to handle complaints in the future.

The provincial government passed a private member’s resolution to ask the privileges and elections Committee to create a new harassment policy specific to MHAs.

Gambin-Walsh, minister of Service NL, says the new changes will make a safer workplace for everybody. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

In the end, Joyce was found to have violated the members’ code of conduct and was forced to apologize in the House of Assembly.

Former MHA Cathy Bennett lobbied for the changes to the legislation before her resignation. She took up the cause after a man was acquitted of causing a disturbance for hurling a sexist insult at NTV reporter Heather Gillis.

“A workplace can also include public sidewalks where a female reporter may be doing her job,” Bennett said in a release at the time.


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