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The “respectful workplace”


Canada is such a polite country. Or at least Manitoba is. That politeness is apparently codified by the provincial government, and is to be enforced by each business’ Human Resources department. My client has a “respectful workplace coordinator” who’s actually paid fulltime to monitor, enforce, and report the company’s compliance with the policy to the provincial government.

I think the idea is ludicrous, but then, I also think the Canadian Human Rights Commission is a farce.

I don’t dispute that politeness in the workplace is required to (a.) get business done and (b.) create a positive work environment. I have witnessed incredibly rude behavior in large corporations (usually where a superior is protecting the offender from retaliation) and in small ones (where the sole proprietor is a complete asshole). In both scenarios, I usually see the offender get their comeuppance, one way or another, sometimes by being shunned out of business, or perhaps by getting run over in the parking lot by a disgruntled co-worker.

My point is that disrespectful behavior in business is usually self-correcting. Manitoba tries to prevent the disrespectful behavior from occurring in the first place, but I think that’s trying to deny human nature. I think it’s much more fun to watch the retribution that occurs as a result of disrespectful behavior.

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