17 January 2005

Workplace Bullying

Recently workplace bullying has been recognised as a a major risk to the health and safety of workers. Below is the text of a poster I produced as part of my duties as a trade union shop steward (where you see XXXXX is where I obfuscated the name of my union):

Bullying is:

  • Shouting, swearing or rage

  • Humiliating or denigrating you in public or calling names

  • Persistent criticism (especially negative criticism)

  • Spreading rumours

  • Ignoring, excluding, maginalising or freezing out

  • Threatening or persecuting

  • Withdrawal of office facilities or relegation to less prestigious facilities

  • Talking about someone as if they were not there or cutting them out of a conversation

  • Undervaluing effort

  • Dispensing punishment without warning or outside of established procedures

  • Labelling or discrimination

  • Physical attacks

  • Removing authority

  • Imposing menial or pointless tasks

  • Sabotaging or impeding work performance

  • Refusing to delegate

  • Changing targets or goals

  • Withholding information

  • Overmonitoring or micromanaging

  • Interfering with post, email or other communications

  • Setting unreasonable goals/targets or fiddling figures to cause a person to fail.

  • Refusing leave, training or promotion

  • Destroying relationships of another person

  • Tampering or adjusting personal reports or appraisals

  • Raising or encouraging spurious complaints

  • Encouraging others to take problems to a person who has no responsibility for them or does not have the authority to resolve them.

Sound familiar? Happening to you?

Some managers call it their management style!

What can you do about it?

  1. Become a clock tower sniper? Cathartic but not really practical, plus it tends to attract the attention of police and military types.

  2. Drink yourself comatose? Doesn’t really solve the root problems and gives you a whole heap of new ones, you do actually need your liver.

  3. Drugs? Same as drink really, plus has that whole illegality thing about it.

  4. Quit? Your next job may be just as bad and you’re probably relying on this bully for your reference.

  5. See your XXXXXX shop steward? A shop steward can put you in touch with a range of support services that can help you deal with the problems of Bullying. They can also help you to raise grievances and complaints to get the bully stopped. They can put you in contact with other people who are being bullied and, together in XXXXXX, you can deal with them!

Useful Information:

BBC anti-bullying campaign: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onelife/personal/bullying/bullying_action1.shtml

BBC workplace bullying: http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/healthy_living/health_at_work/emotional_bullying1.shtml

Advice on dealing with Bullying: http://www.bullyonline.org/

It's CopyLeft so, if you want, use it.

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