How is Australia’s anti-bullying program holding up?

Aside from a new year, the first day of January 2014 was the day that Australia’s anti-bullying regime was introduced at the Fair Work Commission (FWC).  The program provided employees, who became victims of workplace bullying, to report a claim against their employer’s abusive behavior.  This was the first time that Australia passed a legislation to cover bullying at work.

Prior to the implementation of the anti-workplace bullying regime, the FWC was expecting to receive around 3,500 bullying claims every year.  However, reports issued by the FWC indicated that only 874 cases of employees being bullied at work was received by the Commission since its inception until March 2015.

The number is very low.  What’s alarming is that 72 percent of these cases were finalized with an FWC decision and all but 1 bullying application was dismissed.  That means that only 1 among the 874 claims filed to the FWC was granted or deemed successful.

The low numbers of workplace bullying claims filed with the FWC is attributed to the lack of a compensation penalty.  With the current anti-bullying program, the FWC may only impose orders to deal with workplace bullying and prevent it from happening to the claimant again.  This is only applicable to bullying applications that are considered successful.  In such cases, it also allows the FWC to order the company to introduce or enhance workplace policies on bullying.

Another reason to the low numbers may be the hesitation of bullied employees to speak up about the abuse they experienced at work.

To read more about Australia’s anti-bullying program, click here.

Minnesota Set to Conduct Anti-Workplace Bullying Training for State Employees

October is the National Bullying Prevention month in the U.S. and while most of the anti-bullying activities set for this month are geared towards schools and young teens, some organizations are also taking the opportunity to launch informative sessions to fight workplace bullying.

One example is Minnesota’s series of anti-workplace bullying trainings for supervisors and employees working for the state.  This is in support of the new Respectful Workplace Policy that the state released earlier this year.  Minnesota’s new policy addressing workplace bullies was created with input from groups such as the Minnesota Association of Professional Employees (MAPE).

According to Anne Moore, MAPE member and public information officer for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, the associated trainings for state employees will happen this month.

What’s interesting is that the training will feature a series of videos that will show how bullies behave in the workplace and the effect of those negative behaviors.  Using informative clips, such as what Minnesota plans to do, as part of a workplace bully prevention campaign is a good tool to show everybody how damaging bullying can be.

To read more about subject, click here.

Dolphin Management Style Approach to Workplace Bullying

School-based bullying attracts more attention over the years but adults also bully and get bullied all the time in surprising places. Universities, hospitals, schools, corporations, and even the police stations are all settings where the real, common, and shockingly workplace bullying happens. A new study conducted by the Conference Board of Canada called: “Workplace Bullying Primer: What It Is and How to Deal With” clearly describes the rapidly increasing problem of workplace bullying. “Top Down” bullying is the most common form of workplace bullying in which a superior bullies his subordinates. Other forms include what we call “Lateral” or peer to peer and “Bottom Up” or employee bullies superior can also occur regularly. It was found out that email is the major method of workplace bullying. Email is considered as ubiquitous but it can be a feeding ground for nastiness around the workplace. Office rumors and innuendo can spread like wildfire in an instant behind the anonymity of a computer screen. When it comes to forms of bullying, women more often report about bullying from men in the workplace. Men on the other hand, direct their bullying behavior towards the work of victims. According to Shimi Kang, M.D., as a psychiatrist and addiction specialist, she can see the adverse effects of all kinds of workplace bullying on all types of people in her practice. Notable common effects experienced of workplace bullying includes symptoms of stress, mental health issues, disability leave, frequent absences, employee turnover, less productivity, lower job satisfaction, and increased legal fees for the company. How to solve workplace bullying? The problem is definitely real and there is a corresponding solution. The most effective leadership approach to workplace bullying is the Dolphin Management Style. You can read more of Shimi Kang, M.D.’s article as published in Psychology Today.

Celebrities Join Bully Victim Lizzie Velasquez in Campaign against Bullying

October is considered the National Bullying Prevention month in the U.S., wherein several anti-bullying programs and activities are scheduled to happen.  Although the activities lean more towards bullying in schools, some of the messages behind the campaigns are also applicable for employees bullied at work or how it may eventually affect the emergence of bullies in the workplace.  One campaign that has gained the support of celebrities and other people is Lizzie Velasquez’s call for a Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Lizzie Velasquez, a bully victim who suffers from a rare syndrome that prevents her from gaining weight, took inspiration from her heartbreaking experience after seeing herself as a subject of a Youtube video nearly 10 years ago that labelled her as the “World’s Ugliest Woman.”  Today, she has become a motivational speaker, activist and a star in her own right.  She was also the subject of a recent documentary titled “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” which chronicled her life and her journey to get Congress to approve a Safe Schools Improvement Act.

Now, celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Sara Bareilles, Michelle Phan, Octavia Spencer, Katie Couric, Tori Kelly, Kacey Musgraves, Derek Hough, Dr. Oz and Zachary Levi have pledged in a video, that they are “with Lizzie.”

Hopefully with the Safe Schools Improvement Act, school officials and parents will take better notice of the bullying behavior of some children and address it early on.  It would definitely help to limit the number of bullies entering the work place in the future.

To read more about Velasquez’s proposed Safe Schools Improvement Act and to watch her anti-bullying video on People, click here.


Celebrities Joining Anti-Bullying Campaign with Creative Shirts for a Cause

Given the rising incidents of bullying, celebrities are now joining various programs which promotes anti-bullying.  One of the latest campaigns out today even had a few stars design shirts with motivation messages about spreading kindness instead of hatred and bullying prevention.

These stars included actress and dancer Alyson Stoner, “Every Witch Way” actress Paola Andino, figure skater and 2014 U.S. national champion Gracie Gold, actress Addison Riecke, singer and songwriter Rachel Platten, “Jane the Virgin” star Gina Rodriguez and more.

A total of 10 celebrities participated in the anti-bullying campaign, wherein these stars partnered with CustomInk in designing limited edition shirts which will be available for sale.  What’s unique about the campaign is that it also has a charitable side to it, wherein proceeds from the shirt sales will be donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.

To learn more about the campaign and to see the shirt gallery, click here.

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.

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.