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New book tackles trials of workplace harassment

Author shines light on far-reaching impact of violence at work

May 1, 2020
Denise Koster

Toronto author Denise Koster has released a book on workplace bullying and harassment. (Submitted)

Workplace violence is not a new phenomenon.

In recent times, we have been hearing more news reports of current or former employees entering the workplace and taking the lives of others, and — in the majority of cases — their own lives too.

Employers are faced with the reality that anyone could be violent, which includes not only customers, clients and the general public — but also their own employees.

Even through the lens of a threat assessment, we cannot predict future violence, but we are best able to prevent it by listening and recognizing the pre-incident signs that are often ignored or rationalized. Employers must strike a balance between creating a safe workplace and making their clientele feel comfortable in a welcoming environment.

When employers or management and labour leaders deny the possibility of violence or choose to adopt a mindset of wilful blindness or deliberate ignorance, they need to challenge their own thought process by asking themselves the following question.

“What would be more difficult: telling employees that a new security system is being implemented and the public and employees could no longer walk freely into the workspace through a number of non-secured doors, or telling an employee’s family that they have been injured or killed by an intruder or a peer?”

In my new book, Refusing to Accept the Unacceptable: The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Workplace Bullying and Harassment, I shine a spotlight on the far-reaching impact of violence and harassment in the workplace.

With real-world insights and powerful case studies of individuals who have endured bullying and incivility, as well as those who have lost their lives to workplace violence, I debunk myths about workplace misconduct and offer important revelations about its perpetrators and victims.

Based on 30 years of casework and workplace investigations, my book explores key psychological, behavioural and situational risk factors that leaders must be aware of in today’s challenging business environment.

Leveraging my experience as a certified threat manager, I do my best to offer educational tools such as prescriptive strategies and detailed processes that organizations can adopt to protect themselves and their employees.

Key concepts such as how to take and assess a complaint, the proper and inclusive steps to follow when facilitating a conflict resolution process, and the necessary best practices to utilize when initializing, conducting and completing an unbiased and thorough investigation are key components covered.

This book is essential reading for anyone working in the field of occupational health and safety as well as managers, human resources professionals and other workplace advocates searching for solutions.

Denise Koster is a workplace violence and elder-abuse specialist in Toronto and the author of Refusing to Accept the Unacceptable: The Trials, Tribulations and Triumphs of Workplace Bullying and Harassment.