Deal With Workplace Bullies

Discussing The Psychological and Legal Impacts of Bullying in the Workplace

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In This Episode

This episode, we tackle an important topic when it comes to Shifting the Employee Experience, bullying in the workplace. Using his article “For A Respectful Workplace, Deal With Bullies” as a catalyst for the conversation, Dr Bill Howatt gives us his input on why employers and employees alike need to seriously acknowledge the mental injuries that happen from bullying in the workplace. Kelly VanBuskirk, a lawyer who specializes in Labour & Employment law, helps to enhance our conversation by providing views from a legal perspective, but also sharing the impact he has seen first hand on those who have experienced bullying in the workplace.

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Episode Breakdown

First 10 Minutes
We learn about the focus of our mini-series and get to know a little bit more about Bill’s background. We introduce the topic for today’s discussion, Bullying in The Workplace.

10 Minutes – 20 Minutes
We meet our guest today, Kelly VanBuskirk, who explains his connection and interest in the topic of workplace bullying. The group talks about if people are taking the issue seriously and why it should be.

20 Minutes – 30 Minutes
Dave asks the question of how people who are leaders in their organization who may not have policies in place, how they can get started and where they should be looking to for resources and building an effective strategy. Kelly explains the legal implications and some issues he has seen with how workplaces are approaching the problems. Bill emphasizes the importance of manager-employee relations and how crucial proper training is for adequately dealing with issues like this. Dave asks both Bill and Kelly to share stories or the impact they have seen. Bill explains the effect of mental injuries. Bill and Kelly share some examples of workplace impacts.

30 Minutes – 40 Minutes
The group talks more about good practical steps employers can take and the role of employees. The group also share ways people can find out more about the topic. Dave and Bill share their takeaways from the discussion.


Kelly VanBuskirk

Kelly VanBuskirk

Lawyer, Labour & Employment, Civil Litigation, Administrative Law, Business Immigration

Since his admission to the New Brunswick Bar in 1993, Kelly has practiced extensively in the field of civil litigation, focusing primarily on labour, employment and human rights. He represents employers, employees, administrative tribunals and unions, and also serves as an arbitrator and mediator.

He joined the partnership team at Lawson Creamer in 1996 after building a successful labour & employment practice in Fredericton.

Kelly frequently teaches law courses and seminars, and has written books, articles and other materials related to the law.
As an adjunct professor at UNB’s Faculty of Business, Kelly has taught undergraduate and MBA courses. He also teaches Trial Practice at UNB’s Faculty of Law and Labour & Employment Law in the Law Society of New Brunswick’s Bar Admission Course.

His articles have been published in the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, the Canadian Mediation and Arbitration Journal, the Canadian Bar Review, the International Review of Human Rights Law, the Solicitor’s Journal, Workplace Today magazine and other publications.

Kelly was also a regular columnist on CBC’s Business Network, a nationally broadcasted radio program and has been frequently requested to provide legal commentary to The Globe & Mail, CTV News, CBC News and other media.

Kelly is currently Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Fredericton and a former member of the Board of Directors of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation. He coaches hockey and rugby, has served as the President of Hockey New Brunswick’s award-winning elite hockey program in Southern New Brunswick and is currently the President of the Saint John Major Midget AAA Vito’s hockey program. Kelly is a member of St. Mary’s Band, New Brunswick’s oldest community band, and he plays in several other music groups, as well.

Kelly enjoys time with his wife Cynthia, their two sons and the family’s crazy bull terrier. He is actively involved in the Anglican Church, coaches hockey, maintains an interest in his preferred sport of rugby and plays the trombone in several bands.

In addition to Why Employees Sue: Rethinking Approaches to the Resolution of Employment Conflicts, he has also written How to Buy a Great House, a book that addresses common house defects that regularly lead to costly and unnecessary lawsuits and has edited How to Live a Great Life, a collection of essays published in support of the Saint John Regional Hospital Foundation.

About Lawson Creamer

At Lawson Creamer, our clients benefit from exceptional relationship-based service and depth of experience in business law, labour and employment, civil litigation, administrative law, estates and trusts, real property and business immigration.

We’ve been told we punch above our weight.

Maybe that’s because we are dedicated to providing our clients with strategic solutions tailored to their specific scenario, handled personally and over the long term by our small team of highly experienced professionals. Or maybe it’s because we still adhere to the values of our founder, Gerald B. Lawson, whose high standards for the practice of law were driven by integrity, honesty and hard work.

Thank you to our partners!

Shifting the Employee Experience is presented in partnership with the University of New Brunswick College of Extended Learning, featuring the online High Impact Corporate Learning Program! Workplace health, safety, wellness and leadership are competencies that significantly impact a workforce. Strength in these areas is crucial for success in a corporate environment. Build capacity of your entire team with specialized courses! UNB Online! Learn more! Visit

Every worker. Healthy and safe. Every day.

Workplace Safety & Prevention Services is a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting workers and businesses. WSPS serves the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors in Ontario supporting over 167,000 member firms and 4.1 million workers. WSPS offers unparalleled health and safety expertise, consulting, training and resources. Our mandate includes helping businesses understand their risks and legal obligations to stay in compliance and build safer workplaces.