Identifying and Combating Workplace Bullying

Have you ever been bullied before?

Do you think you would be able to tell what that looks like? Feels like?

Many forms of abuse and bullying may not simply be physical forms of violence and harassment, these can be subtle, subconscious, and incredibly micro in their delivery. However, the result can be detrimental to all those involved. 

We may find ourselves questioning if our boss actually likes our works? What do your co-workers say when you’re not there? … While it is understandable that many of these feelings and questions may come naturally suiteWorkplace bullying power control wheeld with a new place of work, a new job position, or even after a drastic policy or company change. At times, it makes sense why we ask ourselves these things, they can even help motivate us and push us to do better, step outside the box. 

But, there are also times in which these feelings may be caused by external forces and reinforced through patterns of abuse of power and bullying. 

The Power Control Wheel was initially designed to help IPV victims/survivors identify patterns of abuse and intervene with male batterers/instigators. The Workplace Bullying Power Control Wheel project has adapted elements of the Power Control Wheel to assist individuals to identify and describe personal experiences with bullying behaviours in the workplace.

Hannah S. Scott, PhD, is a Professor in the Faculty of Social Science and Humanities at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. She specializes in the areas of victimology, evaluation, homicide studies, homelessness, and vulnerable populations. She is the founder and former Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Survey Research (currently the Social Research Centre) at the university. 

Her adaption of the Power Control wheel can be used to identify when we ourselves may be going through an abusive experience at work and are unsure what to do about it or how to identify it. For example, if you have had your experience Minimized, Denied, or Invalidated at work, and find yourself the target of backlash as a result, this may be an experience of power abuse. Where abusers may try to keep control of the situation by allowing you to feel as though you are wrong, and your experience is not true. This allows the offender to remain in a  position where they have control over the victim as well as the workplace, this is also a form of Intimidation, as it does not always have to be physical, one can be made to feel small and forced to comply based on threats of spreading gossip, mean jokes, etc.

Many targets of abuse may find themselves Isolated in the workplace as a result, this can be both directly and indirectly happening, however typically works in the abuser’s favour by keeping the target in a position where they do not feel they cannot do anything. 

In many ways, the power wheel is also an interconnected diagram of how the dynamical ways abuse also develops in the workplace, and what may happen as a result of unaddressed concerns. 

If you would like to obtain more information about the Workplace Bullying Project or the Workplace Bullying Power Control Wheel, contact: 905.721.8668 ext. 2653 or email


If you or someone you know is experiencing any form of bullying, violence, or harassment in the workplace, it is important to remember you can do something about it. 

To start it is crucial you do your best to document everything!

This includes, but is not limited to things like keeping all employment contracts, tracking your hours, dates, wages etc. Or noting any information about those involved (name,

address, position) could be helpful in filing a complaint later.

Don’t forget to document incidents of violations to your rights, things like details, date and time it occurred.

Witnesses can be helpful. If you know you were not the only person who was involved or witnessed an incident, talk with co-workers. A case is always stronger when there are numbers to back it up, talk to someone you trust. This can help you and the rest of your team try to solve it internally, always try speaking to your supervisor or management to solve an issue. If you do not feel comfortable going to your supervisor, you could try writing a letter to your boss; we can help you with this!


You can file a claim for free through the mail or online, through the Ministry of Labour, or the Human Rights Tribunal, depending on your claim. To learn more about how to file a claim or if you have questions about workplace experiences, do not hesitate to reach out and contact us here at The Sudbury Workers Education and Advocacy Centre, we will walk with you through the process 1-on-1. 

You can also learn more about filing a claim on the MOL website here, and the Human Rights Tribunal here. 


The only way we can make change is by coming together and continuing the fight, there are other ways that you can push for immediate change within your workplace, such as organizing a union. You and your coworkers can unionize as a way to fight for greater projections for your team. This allows the voice of workers to be heard and aids them in the workplace.  Contact us if you are interested in knowing more about unions and have questions about how to organize your workplace.

Or learn more on the Ontario Federation of Labour: Young Workers Resource on forming a union during the COVID-9 pandemic