Fair Work Commission orders bully manager and bullying victims to avoid contact with each other at work

A recent bullying case presented to the Fair Work Commission involving two employees and a property manager, had the Commission issue an order for both parties to avoid each other at work.  The two employees filed separate applications with the Commission about an alleged workplace bullying incident involving the same property manager.  The two employees claimed that the bully manager used physical intimidation, belittled the employees, yelled at and used inappropriate language at the work place, among others.

The incident was previously raised to the employer of these bullying victims and the property manager, which reportedly resulted to the manager’s resignation.  However, the bully manager was employed at a related company that operated in a different work location.  Despite the distance, the Fair Work Commission found that there is a probability that these three may meet or have future interactions.  This prompted the Commission to mandate the bully manager not to interact with the two employees or access their profiles, including barring the property manager from entering the workplace while the two employees are at work.  The same order was given to the bullying victims.  The Commission also said the order will remain in force for 2 years.

The Commission’s mandate may seem a little harsh or even funny to some, but for victims of workplace bullies, this gives them added protection and comfort in knowing that they won’t experience further bullying from the manager.  It also allows them to feel more secure in the work place after being subjected to such a negative working environment.

To read more about the case, as well as other mandates the Commission ordered the company to do, click here.

South Africa teachers experienced the most bullying among professional groups

A study conducted by North-West University academics indicated that South Africa teachers are one of the professional groups in the country that experienced the most bullying in the workplace. The research completed by the School of Education Studies titled “The Nature Of Workplace Bullying Experienced By Teachers and the Biopsychosocial Health Effects,” cited that the bullies that teachers encountered were mostly male school principals.

What’s alarming is that the research also indicated that principals looked for reasons to threaten or file grievances against bullied victims. One can only imagine how scary these teacher’s working environment can be.  It also suggests that organization’s culture is not a healthy and positive one, which would have given the victim’s the courage to speak up without fear of retaliation or further harassment.

The experience definitely has a negative effect on individuals who were bullied at work.  Not only does it affect a victim’s mental and emotional health, it also manifests into various physical sickness and conditions.  Bullying can also sometimes lead to depression and thoughts of suicide.

To learn more about the study and the devastating effect of bullying on teachers, click here.

How do I deal with a boss who’s a bully?

Bullying in the workplace can happen in many ways.  It can also come from different people, and at times, it can also be your boss.  Some bully bosses may be seen as a tyrant, a control freak or a manipulator.  These characteristics and behaviors sometimes confuses employees into thinking that the boss is a tough one, when in fact, he or she may already be acting like a bully.

Even if you try to avoid becoming a target of the bully boss’ attention and striving hard to do a great job, nothing seems to work.  You’re working life has now become very stressful, to the point that it may be unbearable at times.  So what do you do?  How do you deal with the situation?

Faith Wood, a Conflict Coach, author and professional speaker, suggested six strategies that a bullying victim can do in order to make their working environment more livable.  Most of Wood’s suggestions has already been mentioned by other experts on the field of workplace bullying.  However, some of her tips provided a slightly different approach on how to handle being bullied at work such as learning to say no in a professional manner.

To read more about the six strategies in dealing with a bully boss, click here.

Upcoming Human Resources Training Series to Tackle Bullying and Other Workplace Regulations

A human resources consulting firm based in Vancouver, Canada will be conducting a three day human resources training this October that will tackle various workplace issues including bullying and harassment.  The informative training series will also touch on the effect of social media in the work place, as well as provide sessions on leadership, effective communications and workplace culture change.

The first day session will also cover the human rights of employees in the workplace and will incorporate topics such as dealing with discrimination, harassment, workplace bullying, along with abusive and disrespectful behaviors.  The training series is a timely session given the rising instances of bullying in the workplace.  Learning about work place bullies and how employees and employers can deal with it is very important for any organization.

Typically these information sessions also provide updates about legislations and rulings that would govern workplace bullying or harassment.  It would help also if the three day training will provide benchmark data and best practices that will aid organizations and human resource professionals in promoting and keeping a positive work environment.

For this three day learning session, Cruise HR Solutions will provide the essential skills and information about workplace issues.  The human resources training series will run on October 6, 13 and 20.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming seminar.

A Case of Unfriending in Facebook Constituted to Workplace Bullying

Who would have thought that unfriending someone from Facebook is considered a form of workplace bullying?  This was a finding that the Australia Fair Work Commission discovered in a case filed by an employee.

Real estate agent Rachel Roberts has been working for VIEW Launceston, a Tasmania-based real estate agency, since November 2012.  However, Roberts went to the Fair Work Commission claiming that she experienced being bullied at work.  The alleged bully? Roberts claimed that it was the Sales Administrator and wife of the agency’s principal, Lisa Bird.

It all started when Roberts reportedly complained to the agency principal, James Bird, on how her property listings were not getting fair representation on the agency’s front window.  After she voiced out her concern, Lisa Bird accused her of being a “naughty little school girl running to the teacher” and later on deleted Roberts as a Facebook friend.  This was one of the incidents which Roberts used to add to her case.  The Fair Work Commission reportedly found Bird’s action as “indicative of unreasonable behavior” and that it “showed a lack of emotional maturity.”

Aside from the Facebook unfriending incident, Roberts also stated other instances when she was treated unfairly by Bird.  The complainant even told the tribunal that she lost a real estate deal because of the Sales Administrator’s unreasonable behavior.   Interestingly, the company’s argument that they have already released policies, along with a manual, that covers workplace bullying was rejected by the Commission.  Instead, the employer and Roberts will hold a meeting to discuss the anti-bullying order that should be made to address the issue.

Interested to learn more about the case?  Click here to read the full article at Australia’s Financial Review.

How to Stop Workplace Bullying: Some Tips for Employers

We’ve been hearing a lot of reports on how workplace bullying has become a common occurrence in organizations.  Several studies and research also showed that the number of cases or victims of work place bullies is rising.  According to Sandi Verrecchia, President and CEO of Satori Consulting, workplace bullying is happening more frequently than it should.  Now, this actually sounds scary.  Such scenarios suggest unhealthy working environments and negative organization cultures.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides in having bullies at the work place, is that these individuals can chase away the company’s good employees.  Data from a book, “The Bully At Work,” showed that 40 percent of victims of workplace bullying decided to leave their job in order to avoid the abuse and negative working environment.  Surprisingly, 24 percent of the victims were fired by the organization. On the other hand, only 24 percent of these work place bullies were punished.

So what should employers do in order to stop workplace bullying?  Satori Consulting’s Verrecchia shared a few tips on how to address the issue.  Note that these tips may sound simple, but it may pose a challenge for some organizations, since it’s not only about adopting zero tolerance policies and workplace bullying prevention programs.  One key factor is being transparent and implementing a culture change that needs to come from the top, and not a bottom-up approach.

To learn more about the ways on how to combat workplace bullies, click here.

Victims of Workplace Bullying More Likely to Contemplate Suicide

Suicide is such a strong and scary word.  Who would have thought that an unhealthy working environment would push an employee so much that he or she would contemplate doing this?  According a Norwegian study, victims of workplace bullying, or those exposed to such hostile working environments, have a higher risk of thinking suicidal thoughts.

Morten Birkeland Nielsen, professor at the National Institute of Occupational Health and the University of Bergen, as well as lead author of the research paper, said that the study was evidence that workplace environments has an impact on a person’s mental health.

The study, which ran from 2005 until 2010, followed a sample of 1,850 people all throughout the five year period.  One of the findings of the research indicated that less than 5 percent of the participants reported thoughts of suicide during the period, however, they were twice as likely to do so after becoming victims of work place bullies.

Another highlight of the research showed that the perception of being bullied at work is actually a precursor of suicidal thoughts and not a consequence, according to Professor Nielsen.

To other people, this situation may seem too extreme.  However, for a bullied employee to contemplate taking his or her own life means that the workplace abuse has been going on for some time.  Although, for some victims of workplace bullying, the period of abuse may not matter.  It is the gravity of the act, or that feeling of helplessness that they can’t stop the situation, that may push a victim to think about suicide as an alternative to end the bullying.

Experts are now calling on organizations and businesses to take a closer and harder look at the issue of workplace bullying.  Learning to spot it, implementing anti-bullying programs and cultivating a positive working environment will help to protect the employees, and ultimately create a more productive organization.

To learn more about the details of the study, click here.

Anti-Bullying Campaign: Subject of a Poster Making Contest

Bullying is all around us.  It not only exists in the school or playgrounds, it has also become quite prevalent in the workplace.  Whenever someone becomes a victim of bullying, the affected individual’s life changes.  He or she can become subdued, afraid and highly stressed out.

Many companies and organizations have launched various programs to help address and prevent bullying.  Part of the program may include conducting anti bullying sessions, establishing policies that would cover such behaviors and scenarios, as well as a setting up avenues and opportunities to encourage victims in speaking up.  A few institutions would also create communication programs or campaigns aimed to increase awareness about bullying issues.

One such example was a poster making contest conducted by four institutions that was launched earlier this year.  These institutions are the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA), East Coast Asian American Student Union (ECAASU), National APIA Panhellenic Association (NAPA), and OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates. The four asked everyone, from aspiring teen artists to victims of bullying, to create a poster that would best display their experience and understanding of bullying and its prevention.

The contest ran until May this year and a winner was already identified by the four institutions.  Aside from winning a gift card reward and a free trip to Washington, D.C. to attend an event, the winner’s original artwork also became the face of the 2015 “Friends Do Make A Difference” campaign.

The contest was an admirable way to invite teens and bullying victims to share their experience, as well as express their pain and hopes in an artistic way.   To learn more about the contest’s details and a short description about the campaign, click here.  To check out the contest winners’ artwork, click here.

Creating an Inspiring Vision Can Help to Address Workplace Bullying

I often tell clients that they need a compelling vision in order to create a positive workplace where workplace bullying cannot survive. In one example, a client of mine manufactured aluminum spheres (apparently aerospace and automotive industries use them) and the CEO’s vision was to, “rule the world when it comes to aluminum spheres.”  When I interviewed everyone in the organization during a prevalence audit for workplace bullying, I discovered that every single employee truly believed in this vision. It was very real for them.

But, if everyone in the organization wants to “rule the world of aluminum spheres” then everyone in the organization has to act accordingly. Bullies will hinder any potential ruling of the world with their behavior and the damage it causes. Now the organization can hold everyone – bullies included – to engaging in behavior that will reach the vision.

A vision most inspires when it:

  • captures the people’s imagination on what the organization can achieve and what each employee can accomplish
  • connects with the people on an emotional and visceral level that engages their passion
  • inspires people to excel and work together to achieve a common goal, as well as aiming for higher expectations for themselves and the organization
  • provides a clear and compelling image of what the future will look like
  • taps into people’s desire to aspire for bigger and better things, wherein the vision would resonate with and call on the individual’s spirt, passion and dreams
  • provides people with a clear set of standards or a benchmark in identifying and evaluating the quality of their actions, which also serves as a gauge for assessing their behaviors and results
  • challenges people to focus their energies and unite together in attaining a common goal, which is most important so that people would realize that they can’t achieve it on their own and would need to work with each other to achieve a common good

Delaware Commission for Women Surveys Delaware Women to Ask About Life Experiences Including Workplace Bullying and Discrimination

The Delaware Commission for Women (DCW) is surveying Delaware women to learn more about their life and work experiences.  The DCW’s project is meant to learn from women from diverse walks of life and working conditions.  The survey involves questions about finances, making ends meet, personal and family considerations, work opportunities, as well as thoughts and worries that keep Delaware women up at night.  There will also be questions about workplace bullying and discrimination.

Apart from wanting to learn more about the female population of Delaware, the Commission’s decision to create a survey stemmed from the results of the “Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.”  The Shriver Report indicated the following points:

  • Forty-seven percent of the workforce is female; sixty-two percent hold minimum wage jobs.
  • Balancing work and home, gender discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace bullying (from both genders) stall progress and present huge disadvantages for women.
  • One in three women lives in poverty or teeter on the edge, pay-check to pay-check. That’s 42 million women; add to those numbers 28 million children and the unknown number of people who depend on them for caregiving.
  • The wage gap cost the average woman between $700,000 to $2 million dollars over the course of her lifetime.

The results from the survey will be used to fuel DCW’s advocacy agenda and to help guide the agency on its priorities and initiatives that will affect Delaware women.  The survey data will also serve as a source of best practices and insights for the Delaware Commission.

Members of Delaware’s female population interested in the survey or those wanting to learn more about the project, may click here to read the full article.