February 21, 2023
Pink Shirt Day February 22 2023

Pink Shirt Day February 22 2023

In case you didn’t know, here’s how Pink Shirt Day started:

In 2007, David Shepherd, Travis Price and their teenage friends organized a high-school protest in support of a Grade 9 boy who was being bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school. This group of friends from Nova Scotia took a stand against bullying by distributing 50 pink T-shirts to peers in their school. This sent a clear message that the young student was not alone and the bullies were never heard from again. A year later, Canada declared the last Wednesday of February Anti-Bullying Day, which is now commonly known as Pink Shirt Day. 

Sadly, many types of bullying continue to exist to this day, not only in schools, but in our workplaces and communities overall.  

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying is usually seen as acts or verbal comments that could 'mentally' hurt or isolate a person in the workplace. Sometimes, bullying can involve negative physical contact as well. Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or a pattern of behavior that is intended to intimidate, offend, degrade, or humiliate a particular person or group of people. It has also been described as the assertion of power through aggression.

It is sometimes hard to know if bullying is happening at the workplace.  If you are not sure an action or statement would be considered bullying, you can use the “reasonable person” test.  Would most people consider the action unacceptable?

In general, there will be differences in opinion and sometimes conflicts at work.  However, behavior that is unreasonable and offends or harms any person should not be tolerated.

What can you do if you think you are being bullied?

If you feel that you are being bullied, discriminated against, victimized, or subjected to any form of harassment:

  • FIRMLY tell the person that his or her behavior is not acceptable and ask them to stop. You can ask a supervisor or union member to be with you when you approach the person.  If it is your supervisor or manager, then contact your workplace shop steward or your Union Representative.
  • Remember, it is not just the character of the incidents, but the number, frequency, and especially the pattern that can reveal bullying or harassment.
  • KEEP a factual journal or diary of daily events.  This record should include:

-          The date, time and what happened in as much detail as possible,

-          The names of witnesses,

-          The outcome of the event.

Your Union Representative will be able to assist you in determining whether the concern or complaint is significant enough to warrant creating a record.  As well as helping in assessing the complaint, your Union will assist you in ensuring your complaint reaches the right person.  Often complaints may be dealt with by local management, unfortunately some complaints require Human Resources to intervene and investigate.  Your Union Representative will speak to the Human Resources manager to ensure that your voice will be heard.

We ask our members to continue helping us build awareness on this important issue and report incidences as they happen.  Also, we remind you that resources are available for anyone struggling with their mental health, a list can be found here.

Getting involved is easy. Wear your pink shirt, take a photo and share it on social media with the hashtag #PinkShirtDay.