Workplace bullying is often still seen in the workplace, however you should not deal with this on your own but speak up as it will not only have a detrimental effect on your working life, but also your home and family life.
Workplace bullying can be defined as repeated, inappropriate or unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, creating a negative effect on the safety and health of employees. This is therefore unlawful under the Occupational Safety and Health ACT 1984 and the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.
Although a lot of workplace bullying involves physical violence and verbal abuse, it can also involve subtle intimidation, for instance text messages to mobile phones, letters and emails. ‘Workplace Mobbing’ is a common form of bullying where workers demonstrate bullying behaviour towards their manager or supervisor with a common intention to usually drive a worker from the workplace.
The bullying can take place between managers and supervisors, customers or clients, students, visitors and contractor and workers and other workers.
Any behaviour whatsoever that has the potential to offend or harm someone should be recognised as a hazard or risk even if it is a one off incident. This is because they can develop into a repeated pattern that becomes a part of the workplace culture.
Bullying is actually defined by the effect of the behaviour, even though there may not be a specific intent to bully. There are two types of bullying behaviour – overt and covert. Overt is obvious types of bullying, like using frightening language, abusive language and can include screaming, yelling and shouting, even physical assault and threats. Covert behaviour on the other hand is setting unrealistic deadlines, overloading a person with work, ignoring or isolating a individual.
What Isn’t Bullying?:
Every single Employer has a right by law to control and direct how work is done, with managers having a responsibility to monitor their own work and giving feedback ( regular or irregular dependent on manager’s request) on their performance. If there are clear performance issues, they should be identified and dealt with in a constructive way without including derogatory comments. There should be complaint and grievance procedures that can be utilised to resolve these issues and concerns.
Common Effects of Workplace Bullying:
– Stress and Sleep Problems
– Panic Attacks
– Concentration Problems
– Depression and Isolation
– Phsyical Injury
– Reduced quality of family and home life
The consequences to an employer may include reduced efficiency, unsafe work environment, poor morale, increased absenteeism, workers compensation claims and civil action.
How Should You Deal with Workplace Bullying?:
Informal Approaches Includes;
– Checking for a workplace bullying policy and a prevention and management plan
– Seek Advice
– Keeping a Record
– Consider Approaching the Bully
– Using a Counselling Service
Formal Approaches Includes;
– Lodging A Written complaint to your employer
– An independent person or grievance officer can carry out the investigation
– The grievance officer may suggest mediated face to face discussions to find a resolution that everyone is happy with.
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