Pink Shirt Day – Let’s End Bullying!

Pink Shirt Day – What is it?

Pink Shirt Day was created in 2007 in Nova Scotia, when a high school student was bullied for being a boy wearing a pink shirt. Two schoolmates, David Shepherd and Travis Price, came up with an idea to protest the act of bullying. The 17-year-old boys bought 50 discounted pink shirts, and spread word to their friends and peers to wear pink shirts the next day. A simple beginning, but a strong impact regardless. Since the original incident, Pink Shirt Day has become a world-wide recognized day to promote anti-bullying in schools, the workplace, and the community. If you would like to get involved, you can do so by wearing pink and posting to social media that you support the anti-bullying movement (Use the hashtag #PinkItForward). Further, you can donate to the Pink Shirt cause, or purchase their pink merchandise by clicking here. 

What is Bullying?

Bullying is a common term, however there are many different variations of bullying that can take form. In general, bullying is defined as an act where one individual seeks to harm, intimidate or coerce another person. The 4 most common ways this can occur include:

  • Verbal bullying: This can be done through name calling, racial slurs, harassment, verbal put-downs, or the tone of voice someone uses with you.
  • Cyber bullying: This bullying is relatively new and potentially one of the most dangerous. People can’t just escape their bullies when they go home at night – bullies can contact and bully their victims through cyber space, whether they directly harass the individual or post inappropriate content or slander an individual online.
  • Relational Aggression: This type of bullying involves attempting to isolate an individual or exclude them from group activities in an attempt to make them feel unwanted.
  • Physical bullying: Many argue that physical violence, such as hitting, punching, shoving, or kicking is no longer considered bullying. When bullying gets to this extent, it is assault and should be reported.

Bullying in the Workplace

I’m sure many of us would have hoped that bullying would be behind us once we left school – unfortunately that’s not the case. Bullying still occurs in workplaces around the world on a regular basis. Bullying in the workplace has many negative effects on the individual involved and the work environment. It can cause increased absenteeism, turnover, and stress, and decrease productivity, motivation, and morale. As a manager, it’s important to be able to recognize bullying in the workplace and work together with your team to ensure bullying does not occur. Some tips for dealing with bullying in the workplace include:

  • Having defined rules, policies and procedures. Ensure your employees are aware of what is considered bullying and harassment, and have policies and procedures for if it occurs. For example, have a reporting protocol for when bullying takes place and a disciplinary action protocol.
  • Enforce a zero tolerance policy for bullying and harassment.
  • Ensure discretion when handling reports of bullying and harassment.
  • Educate yourself and your team! Check out our webinars on Communication in Teams and Bullying and Harassment.
  • Promote a safe and happy work environment – be aware of changes in behaviour, chemistry and atmosphere in your workplace

Adult bullying can be hard to talk about, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important to recognize and prepare for. If you believe you are being bullied at work, there a couple of things to keep in mind:

  1. Remember that most bullying stems from a person wanting to have power over another person. Don’t give the bully that power.
  2. Report incidents of bullying and harassment immediately to the appropriate person.
  3. Do not retaliate: it’s okay to stand up for yourself and tell someone you don’t like what they are doing, but don’t seek revenge or act in the same manner – no one wins this way and it can end up causing trouble for you in the long run.
  4. Keep evidence of bullying or harassment whenever possible.
  5. Ensure your workplace follows through with it’s procedures and protocols regarding workplace bullying and harassment.

Gowan Consulting has multiple resources to ensure the safety and wellness of your employees and work environment. We offer customized training to resolve conflicts in the workplace regarding harassment and bullying, as well as a large variety of other topics. Check out our currently workshop list and vast array of webinars. Contact us to learn more or visit our website!


Works Cited

Canadian Centre of Occupational Health and Safety. (2018). Bullying in the workplace. Retrieved from

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