Starting from January 1st, 2019, all businesses in Quebec will need to have a psychological and sexual harassment prevention policy in order to comply with the new legal provisions of the Labor Standards Act. They will also need to implement a complaint handling system.
Poison for businesses
The National Assembly’s will in stopping psychological and sexual harassment in the workplace is clear and necessary. Workplace harassment has very negative consequences. Victims not only have lower levels of satisfaction, involvement and job performance than their peers (Bowling & Beehr, 2006; Chan and al., 2008), they are also more prone to absenteeism and present with more symptoms of anxiety and depression. Post-traumatic (Nielsen, Tangen and al., 2015) and psychological distress (Khubchandani & Price, 2015) symptoms are also often present. Even physical health problems are more common among harassment victims (Bowling & Beehr, 2006; Khubchandani & Price, 2015; McGinley and al., 2016).
Impacts on witnesses may, in some cases, be just as severe as on victims (Glomb and al., 1997; Lim, Cortina, & Magley, 2008). The workplace atmosphere is then greatly affected and this poison can spread to reach all staff members.
Workplace harassment not only poisons the lives of those directly involved, but also the business in which the situation occurs. Employers have a lot to gain by preventing those situations from happening to the best of their ability and by facilitating the denunciation process that will help quickly put an end to such situations.
Denouncing is good, but supporting victims is even better!
Optania, with its expertise in psychology, sexology and web development, has designed a digital platform that allows companies to easily comply with these new legal requirements: Epsylio.
This unique and innovative virtual assistant allows staff members to be better informed about psychological and sexual harassment while providing them with a simple platform to report incidents. Above all, it provides completely anonymous psychological support to those in need, tied in to their specific situation.
We know how hard it can be for harassment victims and witnesses to go through the denunciation process. We are also aware of the challenges these processes can impose on businesses. And the consequences can be even worse if staff members do not receive the support they need to get through these situations. Preventing and stopping violence of all shapes is a shared responsibility, but so is taking care of victims.
The Optania team
- Bowling, N. A., & Beehr, T. A. (2006). Workplace harassment from the victim's perspective: a theoretical model and meta-analysis. Journal of Applied psychology, 91(5), 998.
- Chan, D. K. S., Lam, C. B., Chow, S. Y., & Cheung, S. F. (2008). Examining the job‐related, psychological, and physical outcomes of workplace sexual harassment: a meta‐analytic review. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32(4), 362-376.
- Glomb, T. M., Richman, W. L., Hulin, C. L., Drasgow, F., Schneider, K. T., & Fitzgerald, L. F. (1997). Ambient sexual harassment: An integrated model of antecedents and consequences. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 71(3), 309-328.
- Khubchandani, J., & Price, J. H. (2015). Workplace harassment and morbidity among US adults: results from the National Health Interview Survey. Journal of community health, 40(3), 555-563.
- Lim, S., Cortina, L. M., & Magley, V. J. (2008). Personal and workgroup incivility: impact on work and health outcomes. Journal of Applied psychology, 93(1), 95.
- Nielsen, M. B., Tangen, T., Idsoe, T., Matthiesen, S. B., & Magerøy, N. (2015). Post-traumatic stress disorder as a consequence of bullying at work and at school. A literature review and meta-analysis. Aggression and violent behavior, 21, 17-24.
- McGinley, M., Wolff, J. M., Rospenda, K. M., Liu, L., & Richman, J. A. (2016). Risk factors and outcomes of chronic sexual harassment during the transition to college: Examination of a two-part growth mixture model. Social science research, 60, 297-310.
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