Panel found that the policies and legislation both supported a longstanding
prejudice against those with mental stress issues based on
an assumption that mental disability is not “real.”
As a result of this recognition of work-related mental stress
claims arising from repeated workplace harassment, employers need
to be proactive in committing to best practices to avoid a toxic environment,
which includes implementing policies, regular training,
proper investigation of complaints and implementation of programs
that prevent the escalation of mental stress in the workplace.
Guidance can be found in the Canadian Standards Association’s
Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as well as in its
companion Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for
Employers, released by MHCC.
CREATING A PSYCHOLOGICALLY SAFE AND
MENTALLY HEALTHY WORKPLACE
Employers who don’t set clear behavioural standards to which all
employees are held equally accountable, regardless of their status in
the organization, risk setting themselves up for creating a toxic work
In the wide majority of cases, workplace harassers are senior to
the people they harass, according to Statistics Canada. The abuse of
power, even if unintended, is a key factor in the cycle of workplace
toxicity and mental health issues.
Bot conceived and developed the Harassment Education
Advisory Response Team (HEART™) program that is running
in workplaces across Canada. This program has a comprehensive
Helping employers manage risk
through customized employee
financial education programs
• digital tools
• one-on-one coaching
To learn more about how T.E. Wealth is helping employers like you,
please visit www. tewealth.com/education
Karen Hall, CFP, R.F.P.
VP Financial Education
& Employer Services
Vancouver • Calgar y • Toronto • Montre a l • S t . John’s
approach that empowers workplaces to be self sufficient in
preventing, managing and responding to issues of bullying and harassment
while promoting mental health in the workplace.
“Workplaces need psychologically sound programs to address the
complexity of challenges faced by organizations to encourage them
to not only focus on liability issues and compliance, but also on
building a foundation for a psychologically safe work environment
that promotes success,” said Bot.
Psychologically safe and respectful workplaces aren’t just good for
employees, they’re good for business. Creating a program and safe
venue to report, putting in place best practices that promote respectful
communication and behaviour and ensuring compliance with
legislative standards can reduce disability and mental health claims.
And it can allow employees like Mary to focus on doing their best
work instead of worrying about how to manage a toxic work environment.
Donna Marshall, M.A., C. Psych., is CEO of BizLife Solutions and
co-developer of the Harassment Education Advisory Response Team
(HEART™) program. Dr. Stephanie Bot, C. Psych., psychoanalyst,
chief psychologist of Dr. Bot and Associates and president of BizLife
Solutions and the BizLife Institute, and Judy Hamilton, LL.B, senior
lawyer at Friedman Law Professional Corporation, were expert contributors
for this article.
HRPATODAY.CA ❚ SEPTEMBER 2015 ❚ 29