Almost one-third of workers say they have witnessed or been victims of psychological harassment - Findings of a CROP-CRHA survey

    MONTREAL, May 31 /CNW Telbec/ - Almost one-third (31%) of Quebec workers
say they have witnessed or been victims of psychological harassment in the
workplace. These are the findings of a CROP survey, conducted on behalf of the
Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés, that were revealed on the
occasion of the fifth anniversary of the provisions against psychological
harassment in the Act respecting Labour Standards.
    "While these findings are a serious cause for concern, it doesn't mean
that respondents are necessarily talking about psychological harassment as it
is defined in the Act. We have to distinguish between real cases and
situations where employers exercise their managerial rights or authority over
employees," explained Florent Francoeur, CHRP, Ordre President and CEO. "But
they do indicate that there are tensions (too many in our view) in the
workplace. That's why it's important to emphasize that it is to employers'
advantage to introduce preventive measures and take immediate action at the
first sign of harassment. That way they can prevent situations from getting
worse and poisoning the work environment. We advocate zero tolerance in this
area," he added.

    Psychological harassment: well-recognized recourse

    The CROP survey also shows that workers are fairly familiar with the
provisions against psychological harassment. In fact, five years after these
provisions were adopted, 81% of respondents are aware that this type of
protection exists in Quebec, compared to 83% in 2007. "In this respect, we
have to acknowledge the achievements of the Commission des normes du travail,"
pointed out Francoeur.

    Recourse: women are more hesitant

    Women are more hesitant than men about using recourse mechanisms if they
have been victims of harassment. According to the survey, one woman out of
four (25%) is afraid to file a complaint against her employer in this
instance, versus 14% of men and 20% overall.
    "What's more, gender aside, it's just as disturbing to realize that one
worker out of five would be afraid to lodge a complaint against his or her
employer in a case of harassment," commented Francoeur.
    At 13%, respondents appeared to be slightly less reluctant to complain
about a co-worker. This figure climbs to 17% for women, compared to only 9%
for men.

    Higher paid employees also have fears

    Lastly, 25% of employees with annual salaries of $80,000 and over claimed
they would be afraid to file a complaint against their employer if they had
been victims of psychological harassment. This percentage falls to 9% for
individuals earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a year.
    "These findings are astonishing given that higher paid workers are
generally considered to be more educated and more aware of their rights. This
result could be explained by the fact that employees in higher income brackets
usually hold higher positions within the corporate hierarchy. Being closer to
senior management, they worry about losing status," concluded Francoeur.

    Prevention is always in good taste

    Lastly, it should be recalled that prevention remains an effective way to
combat psychological harassment in the workplace. A stringent, well-publicized
and uniformly applied policy or the empowerment of certain individuals to
intervene when a potential harassment situation arises can be very effective
methods of prevention.
    The findings of the CROP-CRHA survey are available at and additional articles on the subject may be
consulted at

    (in French only)

    About the Ordre

    The Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés is the primary
reference organization in its field in Quebec. It has a membership of close to
9,500 professionals, candidates and students, including 5,000 CHRPs and 2,500
CIRCs. It is the only organization devoted to the protection of the public
authorized by the Professional Code to confer these professional designations.
    Active in all sectors, CHRPs and CIRCS contribute to the development and
maintenance of a healthy working atmosphere and a safe, efficient
organizational environment that respects the uniqueness of each and every
employee. They also represent employers and employees in various areas of HR
management, from industrial relations, to staffing, training, occupational
health and safety, organizational development and compensation.

For further information:

For further information: Caroline Soulas, Communications coordinator,
Cell phone: (514) 941-1989,

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Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines agréés

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