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How should we address bulling in the workplace


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How should we address bulling in the workplace

  1. 1. Bullying in the Workplace Working together towards Workplace SafetyDr. Janet Parker, B.S., M.S., D.V.M.
  2. 2. "Theres only one way of dealing with stress - thats to identify the cause and then work to reduce or eliminate that cause. I believe bullying is the main, but least recognized, cause of stress in the workplace today.“ Tim Field, bullyonline
  3. 3. Employers Embrace Change• New awareness of the issues, scale, complexity and impact• New resources available• Employers willing to plan and act• New skills necessary to carry the action through effectively• Health and Safety Issues - Good practice is good civil sense
  4. 4. Goal• To encourage employee representatives and employers to build cultures in which respect for individuals is regarded as an essential part of the conduct of all those who work in the organization.• To increase awareness and knowledge of bullying in the workplace, and encourage the development of employment practices that enhance worker safety and prevent bullying in the workplace.
  5. 5. Structure• Definitions of bullying• Employers Obligation• Typology of violence – Physical & Psychological• Forms of bullying• Statistics & Direct Costs• The impact on individuals and organizations• Barriers to Prevention & What can we do?• The law• Summary
  6. 6. Definition: Workplace Bullying• Repeated, Persistent• Unreasonable, Inappropriate• Directed at a target, often an individual• Verbal or Physical• About power – positional, resources, physical• Offensive, Abusive, Intimidating, Malicious, Insulting• Target‟s loss of self confidence, Threatened, Upset, Humiliated, Vulnerable
  7. 7. Definition : Workplace Bullying• Bullying is: • Psychological Violence • Persistent , unwelcome, intrusive behavior of one or more individuals whose actions prevent others from fulfilling their duties • Hierarchical and can be traced to the top or near the top • Denial is the most common strategy employed by toxic managements
  8. 8. Definition Is best understood through the bullys behaviours - acts of commission (hostile verbal, nonverbal communication and interfering actions) and omission (the withholding of resources - time, information, training, support, equipment - that guarantee failure) - which are all driven by the bullys need to control the Target. The US and Canadian Workplace Bullying and Trauma Unit
  9. 9. Not Good Management Bullying is not ‘tough’ management; it is illegitimate behaviour, unrelated to accomplishing productive work, so outrageous as to be the antitheses of what a good employer values and encourages. The US and Canadian Workplace Bullying and Trauma Unit
  10. 10. Employers Obligation• Every employee has a right to a work in an environment free from workplace violence and bullying.• Employers must take reasonable action to prevent violence and bullying and, whenever they become aware of such behavior, put a stop to it.
  11. 11. 7 Key Elements of a Good Employer1 Leadership, Accountability and Culture2 Recruitment, Selection and Induction3 Employee Development, Promotion and Exit4 Flexibility and Work Design5 Renumeration, Recognition and Conditions6 Harassment and Bullying Prevention7 Safe and Healthy Environment
  12. 12. Typology of physical violence• I: Criminal intent 85% of all homicides• II: Customer/client 3% of all homicides• III: Worker-on-worker - Worker-on-worker fatalities account for approximately 7% of all workplace homicides.• IV: Personal relationship - 5% of all workplace homicides US Bureau of Justice Statistics 2001
  13. 13. Tactics of the Bully• Constant humiliation or ridicule, belittling their efforts, often in front of others.• Excessive supervision, monitoring everything , excessively critical about minor things.• Constantly override the person‟s authority.• Spread malicious rumours, ostracise and marginalise their target.• Remove whole areas of responsibility from the person, reducing their job to tasks well below their skills and capabilities.• Set impossible objectives and deadlines• Use terror tactics, open aggression, threats, shouting, physical violence.
  14. 14. Destructive Conflict and Bullying at Work – UMIST research in 2000, Helge Hoel & Cary Cooper• 1 in 10 workers been bullied in the last 6 months• Varies between sectors, worst were • Post and telecommunications – 16% • Prison service – 16% • Dance profession – 14%• 12% of women and 10% of men reported as having been bullied• 75% of bullies are managers• However, bullying is equally likely to affect a manager as a worker• 70% of those bullied are done so as part of a group• For 2 out of 3 the bullying continues for more than a year• For 2 out of 5 it goes on for more than 2 years
  15. 15. Tim Field’s Study in UK• 12-50% of the workforce experience bullying• 20% of cases from the education sector,• 12% are from healthcare• 10% are from social services• 6% from the voluntary / charity / not-for-profit sector. Tim Field 1953-2006 UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, with over 10,000 cases internationally & Author of Bully In Sight
  16. 16. Direct Costs• US $7-17 billion – even $44 billion if stress related illness included• 20% of employers still do not regard stress as a health and safety issue, instead preferring to see it as malingering.
  17. 17. Personally Experienced EmployerAbuse – USA• The Bullied Target is usually the above average worker and the Bully is usually someone who has achieved a supervisory level where his/her own lack of technical abilities and knowledge can be masked by bullying behavior• Younger workers are less likely to be bullied than older workers.
  18. 18. USA Statistics• 44% of American workers have worked for a supervisor or employer who they consider abusive.• Compared to workers with a high school education or less (34%), those with some college or a college degree (47%) are more likely to have been a victim of abuse by a supervisor or employer. Chris Burt, ELA Abusive Boss Charts
  19. 19. Effects of bullying on the individual• Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem• 1 third to half of work related stress may be caused by bullying at work (Cary Cooper)• Physical effects – headaches, sweating/shaking, feeling or being sick, inability to sleep, skin problems• Psychological effects – anxiety, panic attacks, depression, tearfulness, poor concentration, feeling of dread• Behavioural effects – becoming irritable, withdrawn, aggressive, increased consumption of tobacco/alcohol etc• Those who witness bullying also suffer from increased stress
  20. 20. Question?What prevents targets of workplacebullying coming forward and what can bedone and by whom to change this?
  21. 21. Effects on the organization• People working in a climate of fear and resentment do not give their best• Increased sick days and absence• Increased staff turnover• Loss of moral and decrease in performance• Loss of production,• Increased recruitment, retention and re-training costs• Public exposure and threat to public image• Civil Liability and Litigation
  22. 22. Tim Field‟sEstimates of UK‟s costs• Workers who are bullied are absent for an extra 7 sickness days per year• 19 million days are lost to bullying annually in the UK at a cost of £1.8 billion a year• 25% of bullied leave their job• Over 20% of witnesses leave their job• Employee replacement costs in the UK total over £400 million a year
  23. 23. Why does it happen? “Bullies can get away with it”• Some employers reluctant to admit it might be a problem in their organization• Bullied person is often unable to recognise and put a name to the treatment they are receiving• “It‟s just a personality clash”• Individual incidents often seem trivial and people are reluctant to raise them for fear of looking silly• People are scared they will not be believed, disciplined and even sacked• Aggressive management is part of the organizational culture• No procedures for resolving problems
  24. 24. Barriers to Prevention• Denial, Lack of Teamwork• Lack of Incentives or Disincentives• Lack of Worker Empowerment• Lack of Awareness & Policy• Lack of Information/Lack of Reporting• Lack of Communication/Training• Lack of Resources
  25. 25. Question? Are you doing all you can to promote a safe, healthy and fair work environment for employees? Have you taken all reasonable steps to create a working environment that discourages bullying?
  26. 26. What can targets do about it?• Log all incidents of bullying.• Immediately say it’s not ok – once behaviour is established it’s a lot more difficult• If you cannot confront the bully, try writing a memo/email to make it clear why you object to their behaviour.• Keep copies of all annual appraisals and letters/memos/emails relating to your ability to do the job.• Find out if your employer has a policy on harassment or unacceptable behaviour, which may cover bullying.• Targets should have an independent witness with them at all meetings, official or unofficial.
  27. 27. What can organizations do?• Make bullying a dismissal offence• Have a clear policy and procedure (formal and informal) to deal with cases• Protect everyone (complainant and accused)• Be seen to be fair – often the target gets moved• Be consistent• Train employees to recognise, deflate, deflect and avoid the conflict escalating• Have a policy - Communicate it. Use it. Monitor it. Review it
  28. 28. DTI/ Amicus study in UKThe Funders• Dept of Trade and Industry (DTI)• Amicus (UK largest private sector Union)The Task – Research and Training to tackle bullying and harassment at work Mandy Telford - Amicus
  29. 29. Findings:Incidence• No sig diff on age, gender, hierarchical grade• Sector difference slight (but expectations?)• Few people singled out (i.e. several bullied)• In UK alleged bullies often = bossEffect• 25% targets and 20% witnesses leave job• ++ Stress• Anxiety & depression (scared) Mandy Telford, Amicus
  30. 30. Interventions: The Event Hierarchy: Initial ideas Legal redress Failure zone Formal Complaints InterventionInformal Complaints Zone Informal Enquiries Poor Behaviour Prevention Zone Mandy Telford, Amicus
  31. 31. Stage progression - InputsINPUTS OBLIVIOUS FRAGMENTED NEAR STRATEGICMindset on Accepted Concern, but Active concern Strategic withbullying and within culture overall passive but accept monitoring/harassment thus no approach weaknesses in change. problem own system Proactive.Whose No Problem Individuals Individuals Organizationproblem?Tolerance Complete – High, ‘people Exceptions Zero tolerance, no part of job can complain’ allowed (low) exceptionsManagement Task orient. Task orient. Task + people High people +selection & No real Training unlikely. orient some task. Mentoringtraining training. training, for managers. mentoringManagers Achievement Achievement of People Mgt Tasks achievedpromoted on of task task included but not through people. too important. Mandy Telford, Amicus
  32. 32. Stage progression – OutputsOUTPUTS OBLIVIOUS FRAGMENTED NEAR STRATEGICIncidence High, maybe High, maybe Medium Low measured measuredROI None None ↓sickness exit. Costs avoided OK reputation + retention, + reputationLegal Few major Cases Cases Few cases; org cases, org often scattered, org scattered; org rarely found at found at fault. often found at sometimes fault. fault. found at fault.Employee exit High High Reducing LowEmployee LT High High Reducing LowsicknessEarly High High Reducing Lowretirements Mandy Telford, Amicus
  33. 33. Response Model – Mandy Telford, Amicus Individual support
  34. 34. Question?To what extent do you think the following quote is correct? „When workplace bullying is happening in an organization, it is because leadership and management of the organisation is allowing it to happen‟ Andrea Needham, Workplace Bullying, the Costly Business Secret
  35. 35. Risk managementPolicy - that states clearly intolerance of workplace bullyingCode of conduct - that defines acceptable and unacceptable behaviours (House Rules)Management philosophy and practice - that aligns with code of conductSafe, fair and speedy procedure - to deal with complaintsEffective disciplinary procedure – for those found to be bulliesAwareness program - that ensures knowledge of policy and how to address bullying if targetedMonitoring the workplace
  36. 36. The Law• Anti-bullying legislation introduced in 13 States.• Bullying is indeed a health and safety issue.• Employers have a clear legal duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their workers.• There are internationally accepted and published guidance for employers on preventing stress at work which makes it clear that bullying can be a cause of stress and that preventative measures must include action to eliminate bullying where it exists.
  37. 37. The Law• There is no employment law that deals specifically with bullying at work. However, the law covers discrimination and harassment based on the following -• sex• race, colour, nationality, ethnic/national origin• sexual orientation• gender reassignment• religion or belief• disability• union membership• age
  39. 39. Question? Does your organization currently have a policy in place that deals with bullying? Should the workplace bullying and harassment policy be two separate policies?
  40. 40. Murphy v IRS United States Court of Appeals FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUITMaritsa Murphy brought this suit to recover incometaxes she paid on the compensatory damages foremotional distress and loss of reputation she wasawarded in an administrative action she broughtagainst her former employer.
  41. 41. Anti-Bullying LawQuebec (Canada)• Since June 1, 2004, the anti-bullying law has been enforced by the Labour Standards Law in Quebec (Canada).• This is the first North American Law against this form of workplace violence.• Other countries have similar laws:• Belgium, France, Sweden
  42. 42. Experience in Canada• Number of complaints (January 31, 2006)– 4000 complaints with 150 sent to the Canadian Labour Relations Board• Commission of Professional Injuries– About 30 to 40% of the decisions are favorable• Lise Forget-Changnon v. Marché Bel-Air (Refusal of work dangerous to mental health)
  43. 43. Summary• Bullying is pervasive widespread problem• Is costly on a personal and organizational level• Clear policies and procedures are a necessity• Policies must be put into action• Working in partnership, solutions can be found• Training all supervisory staff in proper methods of supervision• Screening prospective workers for being a target of bullying may prevent secondary trauma caused by the employment search• Hiring managers and supervisors who have not been a workplace bully in their last employment
  44. 44. The Advisory, Conciliation andArbitration Service (ACAS)• Free online learning course to help employers understand and prevent bullying in the workplace.• How to recognize and deal with bullying, as well as harassment, provides advice on developing clear and accessible policies.
  45. 45. Bullying Checklist A Bullying Checklist for screening job applicants to ascertain if they have been victims of Bullying in the Workplace is available by contacting MedicalWhistleblower@gmail.comMaterials to assist investigation and to profile the bully are also available
  46. 46. • The Workplace Bullying Institute (USA) is a Drs. Gary and Ruth Namie.• Andy Ellis, an employee advocate with a Target Support Community and a Bullying Discussion group.• Noa Davenport, one of the authors of "Mobbing - Emotional Abuse in the American Workplace has a site at: and
  47. 47. • Whistleblowers Australia have a web-site at• Violence at the workplace is on the increase. A site worthwhile visiting is that of Larry J Chavez, and also media.html• Danger: Toxic Company, Alan M Webber, Fast Company online magazine
  48. 48. • An interesting site on work, poverty and the environment.• - Bullies Down Under, Australia.• "Workplace Violence Today•• Prof. Ken Westhues of the Waterloo University:•
  49. 49. • "Stop The Abuse of Power!!!":• The Canadian website on mobbing:• Evelyn Field’s site in Australia:• Matt Reider’s new site:•• is a practical guide to fighting back against workplace bullying