Fifteen years ago, a grade nine student in Nova Scotia was mocked for coming to school wearing a pink t-shirt. The next day, the bullies learned that their actions were wrong, cruel, and unsupported by the rest of the student population.
After witnessing the bullying, a group of friends and their teacher purchased 50 pink shirts and distributed them around the school. The sea of pink was a visible and vibrant protest against student-on-student harassment—and it got real results. Not only did the bullied student find allies in the hallway, but many media outlets also picked it up and other schools and businesses began to don pink shirts themselves.
A movement was born—and we here at GuardRFID are proud to carry on the anti-bullying actions in a workplace setting. On February 22, 2022, our entire team will be donning pink shirts in honour of Pink Shirt Day, to lift each other up, and to stand up to bullies.
Workplace bullying impacts
Unfortunately, bullying is not just a problem for school kids. It can happen anytime, anywhere, and to anyone. In 2021, a study by Western University, the University of Toronto and the Canadian Labour Congress showed that over 70 percent of Canadians report that they’ve experienced bullying in their workplace, including verbal, sexual, and online harassment and negative behaviours designed to sabotage their work.
Workplace bullying has toxic effects on the culture of a company and for the health of an individual. When a group of individuals in a workplace become enmeshed in negative behaviour, such as intimidation, exclusion, undermining, and/or open insults, companies report increased absenteeism, high turn-over, and decreased productivity. No one wants to come to work—and when they are there, their work suffers.
On a personal level, people being bullied in the workplace (or those forced to witness it without proper means to report and alter the behaviour), experience both emotional and physical effects including frustration, increased vulnerability and loss of confidence, inability to sleep, and high spikes in anxiety. Bullies erode positivity. It’s a terrible feeling to be scared to come to work—and we want to put an end to cruelty in the workplace.
As a company and as individuals, our team at GuardRFID is adamantly opposed to discrimination, harassment, and bullying. Our workplace is diverse and inclusive, and we have many support processes in place to report, deter, and take action against bullies.
Ensuring our company culture is rooted in inclusivity is something we work on every day. With the help of supportive leadership, we are proud that everyone feels able to be their whole selves at work without fear of judgement or attack. Our team welcomes its annual reminder to be kind, be thoughtful, and bring the best parts of yourself to work every day.
Pink Shirt Day is a moment to celebrate the lengths we’ve made within our company and in the world because of those brave and thoughtful actions by high school students in Eastern Canada. It’s a fun and safe way to stand up to bullies and illustrate zero-tolerance with a colourful splash.
Besides, who doesn’t look pretty in pink?
Join us at GuardRFID today and every day in saying NO to bullying and YES to kindness, courage, and inclusion!