Civility and Respect at Work

Civility Matters

Civility and respect mean:

  • Treating others at work with respect
  • Actively listen to others and trying to see different perspectives
  • Being mindful of your words, actions, and assumptions
  • Avoiding judgement or jumping to conclusions
  • Respecting everyone’s work and recognizing everyone’s contributions

Serious problems like bullying, harassment, discrimination, and even violence are the extreme end of a lack of civility and respect at work. However, subtler forms of incivility or lack of respect can really take a tool on the entire workplace. Gossip, rude comments, refusing to acknowledge coworkers or their contributions, inappropriate jokes, and favouritism are some examples of lack of civility and respect in the workplace. 

Civility and respect do not mean ignoring problems, conflicts, or disagreements. Instead, it’s a way to proactively deal with problems at work in a way that makes everyone feel respected.

Civility and respect do not mean ignoring problems, conflicts, or disagreements.


Why Does This Matter

Civility and respect help everyone work well together and get the job done. People who say they have civility and respect in their workplace say that:

  • They feel more positive about their work and feel like part of the team
  • They have better communication with others at work
  • They can better manage trickier issues like disagreements
  • They are more interested in personal and career development
  • They are more likely to stay with their employer
  • They have better mental health overall

Civility and respect are part of a healthy workplace. As people experience small acts of incivility or lack of respect over time, their mental and physical health may suffer. Safety problems come up when people can’t communicate well, are excluded from conversations, or fear retribution if they report a concern.


What Can I do About it?

If you are interested in learning more and getting involved in civility and respect initiatives at work, you can:

  • Talk to your manager about civility and respect training at your workplace
  • Connect with your workplace’s Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee
  • Connect with your Occupational Health and Safety Steward

If you’ve experienced bullying or harassment at work, learn how to take action and where to report incidents at www.worksafebc.


To Learn More