Richmond Hill’s Blue Shirt Day fights workplace bullying

Oct 19, 2012 | News


Flag raising ceremony for Blue Shirt Day in Richmond Hill. COURTESY TOWN OF RICHMOND HILL

By Sasha Ramnarine

October is anti-bullying month and some municipalities across the GTA are working to fight bullying in the workplace.

“Council recognizes that there is a need to reduce and eliminate bullying in the workplace,” Richmond Hill Mayor Dave Barrow told Humber News.

Barrow said Richomd Hill council has declared Friday a Blue Shirt Day to mark the province’s Stop Workplace Bullying & Harassment Day.

City News reported Markham and Newmarket city councils are also involved.

“There will be a flag raising ceremony to recognize Blue Shirt Day at the main municipal offices,” Barrow said.

Richmond Hill Communications co-ordinator Ash O’Malley told Humber News the colour of the flag is blue, since “blue is the colour of communication.”

But communication regarding workplace bullying does not always occur.

“Young adults use social media more than older adults.  And due to this, we know more about bullying involving young adults, since they don’t know how to deal with it . . . older adults are less irrational and turn to social media less,” said Barrow.

Barrow said bullying is “unfortunately prevalent in any age group.”

Regarding social media’s powerful impact, Barrow added “cyber bullying is increasing.”

But Barrow said bullying will not likely increase due to social media, since “some bullies prefer face to face interactions.”

Overall, “you’re not alone” is the message Barrow said victims of bullying should keep in mind.

According to a media release from the town of Richmond Hill “Barrow and council members will be joined by representatives from the anti-bully support group in support of this special day.”

Barrow said this initiative also supports Ana Nair, a  Richmond Hill resident and victim of workplace bullying, who approached the town to join her efforts to promote an anti-bullying movement in the workplace.

“Ms. Nair operated an anti-bullying movement and we supported her.  Now, our proclamation policy will acknowledge Blue Shirt Day annually,” said Barrow.