Quebec bullying complaints higher than predicted

Nearly 500 workplace bullying complaints filed in wake of legislation passed three months ago

Since Quebec’s workplace bullying law went into effect three months ago, nearly 500 complaints have been filed according to statistics from the province’s labour standards board.

The board expects more than 2,000 complaints will be filed in the first year, up from an initial projection of 1,700.

According to a report by The Canadian Press, nearly a quarter of the complaints received so far have been dismissed because they weren’t justified, didn’t meet the criteria or were resolved.

Robert Rivest, assistant director of the legal department at the standards board, said it was too early to spot any trends in the complaints. But he said a majority of the complaints are coming from workers whose companies haven’t established policies to deal with psychological harassment in the workplace.

Quebec’s legislation went into force on June 1. It was modelled after similar laws in Europe and gives the province the power to order fines, punitive damages and the reinstatement of employees.

The law could form a model for the rest of Canada to follow. Barry Kuretzky, a Toronto-based employment lawyer, said he hopes other jurisdictions will follow Quebec’s lead.

“It’s all about setting boundaries, parameters and limits,” he told The Canadian Press. “And this new limit is about being civil.”

For more on Quebec’s workplace bullying legislation, click on the related articles links below.

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