Lift Each Other Up and Promote Civility and Respect in the Workplace

February 22, 2022
February 23 is Pink Shirt Day, an opportunity to celebrate our diversity and promote acceptance and inclusion in our workplaces and communities

Pink Shirt Day has its roots in Nova Scotia and is part of an annual anti-bullying campaign founded by two teens in 2007. David Shepherd and Travis Price decided to take a stand when a fellow classmate was subjected to an act of homophobic bullying for wearing a pink polo shirt to school. The two bought dozens of pink shirts at a thrift store and announced they would give them out to students the next day. With the word out, many students took it upon themselves to show up for school in pink rather than wait for one of the tops. Since then, Pink Shirt Day has become an annual event to speak out against bullying in schools, communities, and workplaces.

This year's Pink Shirt Day campaign speaks to our diversity and need for acceptance and inclusion of everyone.

The global pandemic has created many challenges and stressors. Bullying in the workplace is often the result of multiple drivers such as increased workload, complex cognitive demands, role conflicts, and unclear leadership direction - conditions all exacerbated by working through the pandemic.

Pink Shirt Day seeks to reduce bullying by celebrating diversity in all its forms. While all people can be the target of bullying, some equity-seeking groups or individuals encounter more bullying than others.

Workplace bullying and harassment includes any inappropriate conduct or comment by a person towards a worker that the person knew or reasonably ought to have known would cause that worker to be intimidated or humiliated. Discrimination due to race/racialization, sex, gender identity/ expression, sexual orientation, and disability can often compound the experience of everyday bullying and harassment.

Exposure to workplace bullying - whether in person or online - can impact the physical and mental health of workers and permeate all facets of personal and professional life. This can reduce job satisfaction, motivation, morale, and negatively impact patients.

It is important to know BC workplaces are required to have prevention strategies for bullying and harassment. This WorkSafeBC video speaks to the legal obligations of employers, supervisors and workers surrounding bullying and harassment. Add this video to your safety huddles, conversations, or share with colleagues to help create awareness and stop the violence.

If you witness, or are the recipient of bullying, report it! Talk to your supervisor, contact your local BCNU Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee representative or BCNU steward. Make a complaint following your employer's bullying and harassment policy. Be an ally to those subjected to discrimination, oppression and/or bullying and harassment in the workplace.

This Feb. 23, BCNU encourages members to lift each other up! Wear pink, be a model for civility and respect in the workplace and join with others in raising awareness to end bullying and harassment.

Talk to your steward for more information.

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