27 January 2009

NEWS - Employers 'fail to stop bullying' - Has anything changed?

I was just looking through the BBC articles online, as they seem to cover quite a few stories over the years on Bullying and Harassment.

I came across this one from 2004; 'Employers 'fail to stop bullying' along with valuable readers comments sharing their experiences at the end.

It reported that;

'Few employers take steps to safeguard against bullying in the work place, research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development suggests.

More than 1,000 employers took part in the survey and most admitted they did not do enough to tackle the problem.

Most admitted they left the causes of the bullying unchallenged and that some managers were ill-equipped to stop it.'

So, I ask myself....has much changed in the four years? Or infact seeing that it is 2009, has there been any change in your workplace where it is visable that management have implemented programmes, training, regular reviews (interview, questionnaires, think tanks) on Bullying, Harassment, Mobbing? Anything?

Bullies aren't monsters that exist in a vacuum, and if you ignore, punish or isolate them the problem isn't going to go away

- Imogen Haslam, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

I would be interested to know how your workplace STOPS BULLYING?


Article continues;

High-profile support

Legal and General, BT and Royal Mail are among the high-profile companies which have signed up to the plan.

Trade union Amicus is taking part in the anti-bullying project, which includes making work place victimisation unlawful among its aims.

Amicus aims to help firms tackle the problem and is working with some of Britain's biggest employers to draw up guidance to help them.

The employers surveyed came from a range of fields, from manufacturing to hotels.
And experience is not necessarily the crucial factor where bullying is concerned.
Junior members of staff are equally capable of victimising senior colleagues, according to the findings.

Workplace culture

Imogen Haslam, one of the CIPD report's authors, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that bullying behaviour could cover a whole range of actions.

"It's not just the stereotype of a manager, usually male, screaming at a team," she said.

"For example, we found 12% of bullies are subordinates, so doing things like not passing on phone messages from your boss's boss, or withholding information from your manager until you're in a meeting... is another much more subtle way of bullying."

She said that employers needed to look at their workplace culture when seeking to tackle a bullying problem.

"If you have a culture where you're constantly overloading people with work, where you have a blame culture, where you tolerate or even promote aggressive behaviour it's not going to be a surprise if you have problems with bullies.

"Bullies aren't monsters that exist in a vacuum, and if you ignore, punish or isolate them the problem isn't going to go away ."

Tell us your experiences:

Have you been a victim of bullying in the workplace?
If so, what form did the bullying take?

Before I moved to the UK, I worked for a major corporation in the United States. In my particular office, there was a manager who was renowned for her temper tantrums and completely hostile behaviour if she was in a "bad mood."

She would purposely withhold information from her fellow managers, and if a decision was made that was not of her liking, she would punish those who supported the decision by simply not talking to them and by rallying other managers against them. She was extremely petty, resorting to childish acts like simply not responding to any requests for help or information from people she didn't like or agree with and by blatantly excluding individuals on both a business level and person level. It felt more like I was back in high school than being part of a management team. Our senior manager was repeatedly made aware of the situation by various members of the management staff, and while he tried to set examples for the manager in question and tried to speak with her on occasion, it never made any difference. It was extremely difficult for me to deal with this pettiness and childishness on a daily basis and resulted in even more stress for me, when my job was already stressful enough. This environment was extremely unhealthy and depressing. I was overjoyed when I was finally able to resign and move on from that company, and it was due in large part to the bully of a manager with whom I had to work.
Christie, Swindon, GB

I worked for the local council and when my 'temporary' manager came in she found it difficult to grasp the job. Consequently she didn't deal very well with any information I gave her and used to shout at me and slam her fists into the desk. Unfortunately, she only did this when other people were not around. I ended up sick with stress which is something I have never, ever had in all my working life.

I had enough and went to her boss with the information (I had kept a log of the information and emails etc). He told me to go to personnel and make a complaint which I did. Personnel did nothing except inform her that I had made a complaint against her for bullying and harassment, she countered this with a complaint against me for bullying and harassment! Personnel told me 'off the record' that basically whatever I did I would lose my job as no good could come of it and my only hope was to withdraw the complaint and hope that she leaves at the end of her contract!

I carried on for another month but finally decided to leave as it was my only option.
Deborah, UK

Don't talk to me about bullying in the workplace! I've had to put up with it all my working life! Some examples: being verbally abused, sworn at and ridiculed about my personal life (employer = Civil Service); physically assaulted, made redundant on trumped-up grounds, told to break the speed limit when driving "or else", being told to lie to the customer: but if you don't "get away with it", you're fired!" (employer = IT industry, 4 employers) . . . and there are many, many more. There has never been anyone / never will be anything (in reality) that you can do about this - if you expect to stay in employment / & pay the bills, that is. And employers know this. Don't doubt this! That's why they let it happen - or even encourage it! You just have to put up with it and "soldier on".
Anon, Evesham, UK

When a new boss came in, bringing her own cronies with her, she made no secret of the fact that she intended to drive almost everyone else out. A four year campaign then started in which she gradually picked off her victims one by one. The organisation (public sector)has an anti-bullying policy which it's always crowing about, but it would appear, from my experience of trying to use it, that it's really just there to impress the government inspectors. Repeated complaints to the HR department fell on seemingly deaf ears, and eventually they tried to prove I was either mad, dangerous, or possibly even both. They even tried to refer me to a Psychiatrist! It seemed to me that the actual role of the HR department was to seek out and remove anyone who deviated from the view that we worked in some kind of paradise. It wrecked my life and I lost all my self confidence. What annoys me most though is that this all happened at the tax-payers expense.
Mark , Oxford, England!

I was working for a very large American software company. My manager asked me to lie to a senior director stating that a piece of work had been done. He also said if I did not do this it would affect my future promotion prospect. I complained to his manager and HR, but nothing was done. I ended up having to resign as I could not work for my manager. I have been advised that I could sue the company for constructive dismissal. Other staff also had issue with this individual and have also resigned. The company in question was looking to reduce headcount and I suspect that ignoring these incidents was one way of reducing redundancy costs rather than address the matter.
Name withheld , Billericay Essex

I work for a local authority housing department. A senior manager attempted to change working conditions without consultation with staff. I was part of a group of employees in an office who took action to prevent this. Subsequently several of the employees were moved to other offices. This was perceived as an attempt to "split up", to intimidate. I was to move to the same office as the senior manager. Before moving to that office I organised a meeting with that manager where I spelt out exactly where I thought he was coming from, how I perceived him as using apparently professional "reasons" to facilitate his own attempts at bullying. I told him that while I would deal with him professionally that he was not to approach me in any way in relation to anything unrelated to the job, that I would diarise every single contact or encounter no matter how minuscule or trivial.
Since then, not a peep. Confront bullies where at all possible, and keep a diary!
Tom, Kent, UK

I was bullied by my former boss after two other people in the department had been bullied and left. When I complained to the head of the organisation, I was advised the best thing I could do was to leave as they were aware of my bosses bullying, but were not prepared to sack them. I am now under a gagging agreement from my former employers in return for severance pay and a good reference. My former Boss is still there with an unbullished record !!!
Anon, London, UK

source: news.bbc.co.uk

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