Blog Post #1522 – Men, Women Respond Differently to Bullying: Study

Report from the OH&S Canada magazine (January 2017)

Article by Jean Lian

Workplace bullying doubles women’s sickness absence, leads to an increased use of antidepressants and affects women’s health negatively and for a long time, while men are twice as likely to leave the labour market for a period of time. These are the findings of a study out of Aarhus University and the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, released on December 12, 2016. The findings are based on the responses of 3,182 people in public and private organizations who took part in the study.

“The million-dollar question is why men primarily react by leaving the workforce, while women react to bullying by taking prolonged sick leaves. If anything, this illustrates that men and women handle bullying differently” says assistant professor Tine Mundbjerg Eriksen from the Department of Economics and Business Economics at Aarhus Business and Social Sciences in Aarhus, Denmark. “It seems that men who are bullied are more likely than women to go to work even though they are actually sick.”

The study suggests that bullying might affect men’s salary levels negatively by hampering their opportunities for pay increases and promotions. When is comes to the type and frequency of bullying, the research shows that men are just as exposed to work or personal-related bullying as women are. In fact, men are slightly more exposed to physical intimidation.

The findings of the Danish study might shed some light on workplace bullying in the Canadian context. A 2007 workplace-bullying survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found that6 37 per cent of workers in Canada had been bullied. Of those who had been subjected to bullying, 40 per cent had not told their employers and 62 per cent of employers ignored the problem, did not know what to do or normalized this damaging behaviour.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) in Hamilton, Ontario says there are various forms of bullying, which include spreading malicious rumours, excluding someone socially, intimidate a person, undermining or impeding a person’s work and assigning unreasonable duties.

My opinion

Since 2010, there has been Violence and Harassment legislation in Ontario. Sections 32.0.1 to 32.0.8, inclusive, have been on the books since that time and have been updated a few times as well.

In fact, every company, more than 5 people, that is not federally regulated, must have a policy for both Harassment and Violence and a program that covers action and training.

Contact your HR department for further details.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Violence’ and ‘Harassment’. We can build a program for your company and train your staff on the role everyone plays. All workers will be able to understand the program and how to report violence or harassment in the workplace and to whom.

By the way, if a member of management decides to ignore the problem and penalize an employee for the report and following the program, then section 50 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) has been contravened and it states,

“No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall,

(a)  dismiss or threaten to dismiss a worker;

(b)  discipline or suspend or threaten to discipline or suspend a worker;

(c)  impose any penalty upon a worker; or

(d)  intimidate or coerce a worker,

because the worker has acted in compliance with this Act or the regulations or an order made thereunder, has sought the enforcement of this Act or the regulations or has given evidence in a proceeding in respect of the enforcement of this Act or the regulations or in an inquest under the Coroners Act.”

Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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