Anne Harvey | February 12th, 2015
It was now almost a year ago on Pink Shirt day, Feb 26, 2014, that VCH introduced a new policy and supports to encourage staff and physicians to seek help and report bullying, harassment and disrespectful conduct in the workplace. Since then, we have received 575 requests for help and 255 complaints referred to HR for follow up have been resolved.
I am so proud of our staff for coming forward and reporting bullying – you are not only setting an example for the rest of your colleagues at VCH, but other workplaces that are now seeing VCH as a leader in this field.
A look back
Before we launched our 1-800 line to report bullying, we estimate that we received less than 20 formal complaints a year. Staff were struggling with deciding if the behavior was really bullying and if they wanted to go through the discomfort of facing their bully. We also heard that people were afraid to report bulling and didn’t believe anything would be done if they did report a problem.
The end result was that most people didn’t say anything and were suffering in silence. We have now broken that silence and for me, that is a true milestone to celebrate this Pink Shirt Day on February 25th. EE provided the tools – the new Respectful Workplace Policy, access to VCH’s No-bully line (1 844 662 8559) and a prompt investigation process – but this all required staff participation to reach out for help, and you have done just that. With calls now coming in every week to the No-bully line, I think it’s safe to say that with your help and courage, we are changing the culture at VCH and no longer tolerating bullying and disrespectful behaviour.
Leading the way
VCH was the first employer in Canada to offer a 1-800 line to report bullying, and many staff have utilized this safe, support option to reflect on the situation before deciding how to move forward. It’s a unique form of support as it really gives staff a safe place to confidentially explain their experience with a counsellor who can help them deal with the problem without reporting. What’s also new is that our HR Advisors provide multiple support options for staff experiencing bullying, such as coaching advice on how to have the difficult conversation, mediation and formal investigations.
Bullying is serious
The Respectful Workplace program is one of EE’s highest priorities; each complaint is taken seriously and reviewed carefully to determine the appropriate course of action. In the last year, a total of 41 employees and physicians have either received a letter of warning, suspension, termination, demotion or had their privileges revoked. We are working together to stop bullying at VCH and you are helping us change the culture by reporting disrespectful behaviour, and telling others it’s safe to do so. I encourage those of you who are unsure about reporting to start with the No-bully line (1 844 662 8559) and first speak with a counsellor about your support options. It’s working for many others.
February 25 is Pink Shirt Day
Let’s celebrate how far we have come this Pink Shirt Day and make a commitment to contribute to a respectful workplace. Wear your ‘Respect Starts Here’ VCH exclusive pink t-shirt on Pink Shirt Day to show your support!
What do you think?
What changes have you seen in your work area since the new supports were introduced? Are we changing the culture around bullying? Post your comments below.