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Workplace Bullying and Mobbing Human Rights Commission Case Outcome
The following is a response I gave to a lady who is dealing with severe bullying at work and she was asking how a complaint I filed with the Human Rights Commission turned out...
I'm sorry to hear about what you are going through. Unfortunately, most of the organizations/institutions involved have their own agendas that don't include your well-being.
I also filed a human rights complaint. After 6 years of diddle daddling by the Albert Human Rights Commission, there was a Supreme Court ruling that came down in an unrelated case.
Apparently, a woman who had a PRE-EXISTING condition was taking a lot of time off work as a result of that condition. She was eventually terminated from her job. The Supreme Court ruled that her time off work due to the pre-existing condition imposed an "undue hardship" on the company and that they were justified in terminating her.
As a result of this ruling the Alberta Human Rights Commission, after 6 years of doing nothing, dismissed my complaint. Even though the sick time in my case was not due to a pre-existing condition, but as a result of the C-PTSD and other issues caused by the abuse.
They told me it didn't matter that the injury that resulted in time off work had been caused by the employer. In fact, they are not allowed to address the issue of "cause" at all. They are also not allowed to mention "bullying" in their decision.
When I went to the final meeting with the AHRC investigator, she told me that her investigation had uncovered that the company and union were... evil. She was actually—in tears—as she told me that she had found out from the HR Directory at the Calgary Herald that they knew the effect the constant bullying and mobbing was having and encouraged it in the hopes that it would drive me to suicide.
I knew this, of course. But this was a Human Rights Investigator, in tears, telling me this about what she had uncovered independently. They couldn't just fire me because I was among their best and most dedicated workers (that's what attracted the bullies in the union to attack me in the first place) so they hoped they could get rid of me by causing me to kill myself.
It's ironic that the reason the company wanted to fire me is precisely because I was such a good worker who went well above and beyond the basic requirements of the job. I won't bore you with the details, but this drove the more senior guys in the union, including the president, insane. It was constant attacks, backstabbing, bad-mouthing, and actual sabotage of production files. (I worked in the advertising design and production department.)
So, does the company address this bullying and go up against a cadre of loud, belligerent goons who comprised a large portion of the executive and senior members of the union... or do they join in the abuse and threaten and silence me?
They, of course, chose the latter. Unfortunately, they couldn't just do the union goons' bidding and fire me because they had no cause—as I was actually an exemplary employee.
At about that time the company was bought by the Aspers and there was a real push to cut staff. Except there was the problem of my seniority, so I was safe from normal cuts which would have to come from the lowest seniority first. And, despite their best efforts, I hadn't yet committed suicide. So how to appease the union goons and get rid of me and appease the new owners with staff cuts?
All of this abuse had resulted in my having to take sick leave due to the stress and C-PTSD. (I was actually on short-term disability when I was fired.) So they used that as a justification for termination. Also, with termination for "just cause", they didn't have to pay me anything in severance. After 22 years I was given $0.00 in severance. We then lost everything, including our home.
Sorry if I've gone on too long. But that's basically how that turned out. Unfortunately, you can't trust any of them. They are looking out for their interests first. If those interests coincide with yours, great. If not, they will think nothing of destroying you.
This is why I often recommend getting out of these places and away from those kinds of people. It's great to fight the good fight, but you have to weigh that against the resources you really have and where best they will be spent—fighting them or moving on.