Preventing Workplace Bullying
Evidence shows the detrimental health effects of bullying, not only on the victim, but also on those who are witnesses to the behaviours, or who have a close relationship to the victim. There is also a direct cost to the community in terms of increased workers compensation and related medical treatments.(As Above)
Health and safety legislation calls for employers to provide a safe and healthy workplace that's free from psychological harm, as well as physical danger. Employers are required to identify and control bullying behaviours, which can lead to workplace illness and injury.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is defined as the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate in workplace practice. It includes behaviour that could be expected to intimidate, offend, degrade, humiliate, undermine or threaten.
Bullying is physical or psychological behaviour or conduct where strength (including strength of personality) and/or a position of power is misused by a person in a position of authority or by a person who perceives that they are in a position of power or authority.
Bullying is normally associated with an ongoing systematic pattern of behaviour. An isolated incident of behaviour is not considered bullying, but may of course lead to action being taken against the perpetrator based on that single incident.
Bullying may be perpetrated by any individual, a work colleague, a supervisor, a more senior manager or a person who reports to the individual who is subject to the alleged bullying. A bully is equally likely to be male or female.
Bullying may be overt or covert.
Examples of overt bullying may include:
- abusive behaviour towards another employee such as threatening gestures or actual violence
- aggressive or abusive or offensive language, including threats or shouting
- demeaning remarks
- constant unreasonable and unconstructive criticism
Examples of covert bullying may include:
- deliberate exclusion, isolation or alienation of the employee from normal work interaction, such as intentionally excluding the employee from meetings
- placing unreasonably high work demands on one employee but not on others
- allocation of demeaning jobs or meaningless tasks only
- unreasonably ignoring the employee
- undermining another employee, including encouraging others to "gang up" on the employee
- deliberately withholding information that a person needs to exercise her or his role or entitlements
- repeated refusal of requests for leave or training without adequate explanation and suggestion of alternatives.
Providing guidance, conducting performance counselling, invoking unsatisfactory performance procedures or misconduct procedures does not in itself constitute bullying. Supervisors and managers are expected to offer constructive advice and comment as part of their role in a way that does not demean or humiliate.