14 June 2013

Comment - Workplace bullying laws demean the victim

Bullying at work in the office
Keep workplace laws for the real bullies. Source: news.com.au
SOME of Safe Work Australia’s new workplace laws are threatening to take a good fight in the wrong direction
I'm referring specifically to the rule which seeks to reprimand employers for assigning tasks their employees might consider 'below their skill level'.

Bullying is not just the stuff we don't like about work.  Most people are asked to take on a task they don't really enjoy, or one which might not be part of their job description, every now and then. It's called delegating for the sake of the greater good – just get it done and move on.

Genuine workplace bullying is emotional abuse - just ask anyone who has experienced it.  They will tell you that the worst response another person can have to their situation is to belittle the personal toll that experience has on their self-esteem, daily routine and ability to function outside of work.

And this experience rarely has anything whatsoever to do with how much a person enjoys their daily tasks.

Bullying is snooping, stealing, teasing and mocking. It's insidious and underhanded behaviour which, as Safe Work Australia's other new provisions make clear, has begun to seep outside the edges of the workplace to social media sites and internet chat rooms.

So let's keep things in perspective.

Effective Workplace laws should protect those employees most under threat. It's not about satisfying everyone with a bee in their bonnet about being sent to use the photocopier.

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