Canadians fear reporting workplace violence: Survey

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Many Canadian employees are fearful about reporting harassment and violence in the workplace because they are hesitant of reprisals or termination, a survey from the Woman Abuse Council of Toronto has found.

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Forty-one per cent of women are more hesitant to report an unsafe or uncomfortable experience on the job compared to 25% of men who fear making a report for fear of reprisal, according to the survey.

Thirty-three per cent of women fear the stigma of speaking up compared to 24% of men.

One-quarter of women say past reports have resulted in no action being taken.

“The sad reality is that one in three women will experience violence in their lifetime,” said Harmy Mendoza, executive director of WomanACT.

“Violence against women often extends beyond the home, and when it does, it can extend into the workplace. Domestic violence and sexual harassment affect organizations of all sizes across all sectors.”

One-quarter of all men and women feel making a complaint would harm their career advancement.

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Seventeen per cent fear being terminated if they make a complaint.

The Workplace Culture Safety survey of 964 Canadian employees by Angus Reid found 42% of workers experienced some type of harassment. That number is 50% for women and 33% for men.

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It found more than half of employees have witnessed some form of harassment and one in three have felt unsafe at work.

“Of note, six-in-10 employees would feel more comfortable intervening or reporting incidents of violence or harassment they witness if they had adequate workplace training. This number is higher for women (68%) than men (56%),” the survey said.

“Finally, executives, decision-makers, managers and HR leaders revealed their thoughts about the hybrid workplace. Three in 10 leaders said working from the home/hybrid model has made it more difficult to confirm reports of unsafe or uncomfortable experiences in the workplace. Women managers (23%) were less likely to see remote work as an obstacle, versus men (36%).”


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