Crossing the Line?: Distinguishing between legitimate management, harassment, and borderline behaviours

While some instances of harassment and bullying are easy to recognize, many workplace behaviours are more ambiguous. Workplace parties must be prepared to distinguish harassment and bullying from borderline behaviours and the exercise of managerial authority so that they can respond appropriately to behaviour that crosses the line. In this session, experts will provide guidance on how to identify harassment and bullying and explore best practices for promoting respect in the workplace.

• What are the legal definitions of harassment and bullying? How relevant are subjective perceptions or intentions, workplace culture, and personality traits to determining whether harassment or bullying has occurred?
• What types of behaviour may constitute more subtle forms of harassment or bullying? What signs may indicate that someone is experiencing unrecognized or unreported harassment or bullying?
• How do adjudicators differentiate between legitimate management action and harassment or bullying? What management styles or behaviours have adjudicators identified as harassment or bullying?
• How should employers and unions handle allegations of harassment or bullying against a manager by an employee? What special considerations may apply if the employee is particularly sensitive to criticism?
• What is the legal definition of sexual harassment? What factors and contextual elements do adjudicators consider in determining whether conduct amounts to sexual harassment?
• How has the spread of remote and hybrid work environments changed the prevailing understanding of workplace harassment and bullying? What strategies can employers and unions implement to respond to problematic behaviour in virtual spaces?
• What steps can employers and unions take to reduce the likelihood of harassment, bullying, and borderline behaviours and create a more respectful work environment?