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Psychological harassment

Several recent events have made headlines concerning the harmful work environment in some companies and / or government services. 

Indeed, the concept of "bullying" (i.e. intimidation) is increasingly present in people's discourse. We tend to believe that this kind of behavior is mostly seen in grade school, but think again, it also happens between adults and leads to very serious consequences.

We therefore consider it is essential to raise awareness about the issue of psychological harassment at work. By law, there is "harassment" when one or more person(s) adopt(s) behaviors or use(s) certain words, actions or gestures that are repeatedly hostile or unwanted by the victim employee. This conduct must undermine the employee's dignity or integrity and lead to a harmful work environment.

An essential element of harassment is the repetition of the wrongful act(s). The conduct of one or more person(s) nagging(s) must be repeated. However, in the presence of a one-time serious wrongful behavior (such as a death-threat or a physical altercation) this event alone may constitute harassment if it continually creates a harmful work environment for the victim employee.

On the other hand, we must be careful not to confuse harassment with conflicts between employees or even with the management rights of a superior. Normal work conflicts, such as personality conflicts between employees or power conflicts with the employer, do not constitute harassment.

However, do not hesitate to report conflicts to the employer or to any of his representatives, since the law imposes a psychological harassment prevention obligation. Remember that preventive action should be taken on the ground by the employer, including by the adoption of a policy against psychological harassment.

On the occurrence of psychological harassment, three options are available to you:

1- Prevention: Training, coaching and the presence of a policy against psychological harassment and conflict resolution will help you achieve it.

2- Manage: The situation is reported, it must be solved, starting with an internal or external investigation in order to bring the facts to light.

3- Learning: Although it is a form conflict that is a bit more radical, you can learn from psychological harassment using our mediation services. Indeed, this service facilitates communication between the parties and allows for constructive feedback regarding the conflict that led to harassment.

Our firm also offers a free service of "lunchtime-conference" to explain to workers of an enterprise the ins and outs of harassment, how to detect it, how to prevent it and how to react when we are witnesses or victims.