bullying in the workplace

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					Bullying   in the   Workplace

                        Marvin Meickel
                         March 2008
   1999 International Labour
      Organization (ILO)

    Definition of Workplace Violence
“any incident in which a person is abused,
 threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to
 their work. These behaviors would originate from
 customers, co-workers at any level of the
 organization. This definition would include all forms
 of harassment, bullying, intimidation, physical
 threats/assaults, robbery and other intrusive
 behaviors.”

                                                     2
Bernice Fields, Arbitrator

   “Violence in the workplace begins long
    before fists fly or lethal weapons
    extinguish lives. Where resentment
    and aggression routinely displace
    cooperation and communication,
    violence has occurred.”


                                             3
     Conditions in the Workplace

   40% of clients seen for psychological services
    report workplace stress

   Violent incidents usually begin with psychological
    harassment (e.g. bullying, exclusion, gossiping,
    unfair workloads) OC Transport, Ottawa (1999)

   20% of violent incidents (assaults and robbery)
    occur in the workplace

                                                         4
What is Stress?

   Complex interplay between individual
    and environment

    Event
    Interpretation of event
    Coping characteristics
    Threat of stressor
    Coping response
                                           5
What is Bullying?
Bullying is repeated, unreasonable behavior
directed towards an employee or group of
employees that creates a risk to health &
safety

   It undermines legitimate business interest
   Prevents getting work done
   Driven by the need to control others
   Offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting
   Is a symptom of harassment (general type)
   Is an abuse or misuse of power

                                                      6
Silence – why suffer?

   Targets suffer approximately 2 years
    before taking action while……
   Some shamed individuals remain
    silent
           50% women on women
           30% men on women
           12% men on men
           8% women on men
                                           7
     Workplace Danger Signs


   Emotional outbursts
   Unacceptable behaviour
   Poor work performance
   Unusual behavior for the individual



                                          8
     Fears that sustain Bullying
   Inadequate or non responses from employer
   Co-workers/witnesses afraid
   Tendency to blame the victim
   Aversion to conflict
   Mediation doesn’t work
   Bullies are irrational
   Labeled as weak or whining
   Accepts bullying as a normal part of the job

                                                   9
The Perpetrators

     80% of bullies are typically bosses

   The range of cruel mistreatment
   Control via actions taken against
    target
   Control by withholding resources
                                           10
Types of Bullies

   The   Screaming Mimi
   The   Constant Critic
   The   Two-Headed Snake
   The   Gatekeeper




                             11
12
    The Screaming Mimi
   Public arena to humiliate
   Intimidates to instill fear
   Yelling, cursing, or screaming
    to mask incompetence
   Makes physical threats and
    invades personal space
   Very transparent
   Lacks emotional intelligence


                                     13
14
The Constant Critic
   Prefers one-on-one,
    private settings for
    deniability
   Destroys confidence in
    demonstrated
    competence
   Lies about performance
   Most likely to
    traumatize


                             15
16
  The Two-Headed Snake
 Jekyll-Hyde personality,
  passive-aggressive
  backstabber
 Vicious and vindictive in
  private
 Compulsive Lying
 Charm as a motive –
  deception
 Dares to alter target’s
  workplace reputation
 Difficult to detect         17
18
     The Gatekeeper
   Sabotages – everything goes through
    them
   Control freak
   Denies/blocks resources needed for
    success
   Shrinks time with unrealistic deadlines
   New jobs without training, budget or
    assistance
   No time off, no accommodation for
    doctor ordered work loads,
    adjustments
   Interferes with family or personal
    health obligations
   Deliberate, malicious timing
   First day back from medical leave
                                              19
Factors Underlying Bullying

   Factors beyond employer’s control
   Evolution, biology
   Personality disorder or psychopath
   Family of origin experiences
   School yard bully grown up
   Exploiters and manipulators
   Employer rewards for aggression
                                         20
Factors Underlying Bullying – cont’d
   Personal culture: environmental factors,
    genetics
   Impoverished family history,
    discrimination
   Chronic work and family problems
   Genetic mental culture health disorders
    worsen with stress
   Workplace : what is and what is not
    acceptable behaviour
                                               21
Factors Underlying Bullying –
cont’d

    Family of abuse – verbal abuse or
     child-abuse
    Domestic abuse – she is his
     property
    School bullying
    School violence
    Cyber bullying
                                         22
Reasons Why Adults Become
         Targets

   They dared to be independent
   Their competence is threatening
   They possess social skills
   They are non-confrontational
   They are ethical, whistleblowers
   The strong are targeted

                                       23
Consequences – Two-fold:
   Impact on People

    Biases against targets
    They are not believed
    They are blamed for provoking the bully
    Individuals pay the price with physical
     health impairments, i.e. diabetes,
     gastrointestinal disorders, Fibromyalgia
                                                24
Consequences Cont’d

   Psychological Health Effects

    Anxiety, high blood pressure, ulcers, skin
     rashes
    Clinical depression
    P T S (Post Traumatic Syndrome) Disorder
    Psychosomatic symptoms
      loss of self confidence

                                             25
     Impact of Psychological
     Harassment
   Withdrawal from normal activities
   Withdrawal from social contacts
   Results in vicious cycle of inactivity and
    social isolation
   Cycle often leads to anxiety and mood
    problems
   Physical problems: headaches, G.I.,
    rash/hives, cold & flu symptoms increase
                                                 26
Trauma Symptoms
   Intrusive thoughts
   Flashback, nightmares, obsession
   Hyperventilation
   Irritability
   Paranoia
   Guardedness
   Avoidance

                                       27
Co-Worker Inaction
   Resentment/isolation/abandonment
   Co-workers betray target in 49% of cases
   Fear of being next
   Mismanagement of agreement about
    circumstances
   Clique formation dominates (“groupthink”)
   Siding with aggressor (fear of being next)

                                          28
What to Do If Bullied
1.   First speak to the bully and tell them you
     find their behavior unacceptable
2.   Majority of bullying goes on behind close
     doors. Tell a friend or colleague
3.   Call your union shop steward
4.   Keep a diary
5.   Tell your manager/supervisor
6.   If no resolve, file a formal complaint
     and/or grievance
                                              29
     Laws/Legislation
   Worker Health & Safety Laws
   Human Rights Act
   Canadian Criminal Code
   Collective Agreement
   Employer Policies (Ex: No Bullying Policy)



                                                 30
     Individual Solutions
   Name it
   Legitimize it yourself, stop self-blame
   Take time off, respite
    check mental and physical health
    check laws
    build case about bullying
   Expose the bully
   Bully is too expensive to keep
                                              31
      Role of Union
   Have a central role in curbing bullying at
    work
   Support members who are being bullied
   Assist in negotiating anti-bullying policies
    with management
   Organize union action over bullying
   Provide advice and guidance
   Assist in representing members in any
    proceedings re: bullying
                                                   32
Return to Work Strategies
   Provide job description
   Offer change in job environment
   Document restrictions (occupational therapist)
   Modified duties
   Job shadowing
   Graduated return to work – slow and monitored
   Social support (work and home)
   Periodic psychological follow-up appointments
   Team meetings

                                                     33
    Tangible Employer Costs
   Turnover and related costs
   Accidents by fatigued workers
   Absenteeism, lost productivity
   WCB
   Long-Term Disability



                                     34
Intangible Employer Costs

   Talent flight of the best and brightest

   Sabotage and resistance

   Negative PR – “worst place to work”



                                              35
No-Bullying Policy
A philosophy statement that clearly identifies a commitment
to a safe and positive working environment
Should Include:
1.   What is Workplace Bullying?
      – What it does not include
2.   Types of Bullying
3.   Legislation
4.   Effects of Bullying on individual (s)
5.   Effects of Bullying on the organization
6.   Responsibilities of Supervisors, Managers
7.   Responsibilities of Employees and Co-workers
8.   What to do if you are being bullied
      – Policies and procedures
      – Collective Agreement

                                                              36
 Preventing Workplace
 Bullying
Consultation will help the Employer to:
 Establish whether bullying is a problem in
  the workplace
 Determine the communication method

 Successfully implement preventative
  measures
 Provide assertiveness training in workplace
                                          37
Preventing Workplace
Bullying

Ways to Consult in the Workplace
 Health & Safety Meetings

 Direct discussions

 Staff Meetings

 Brown Bag Lunch Meetings

 Special Working Groups/Committees
                                      38
 Preventing Workplace
 Bullying
What to Consult About
 Strategies for raising awareness

 A No-Bullying Policy

 Procedures for reporting incidents

 Procedures for investigating incidents

 Bullying Resolution Procedures


                                           39
Preventing Workplace
Bullying

Creating Awareness includes:
 Promoting awareness of the No-
  Bullying Policy at all levels within the
  organization
 How to recognize Bullying

 Where to get further information
                                             40
Preventing Workplace
Bullying
Information should be provided when:
 Recruitment of appointed or new
  employees
 When engaging contracted, temporary or
  casual workers


                                     41
IRS System
              Employers




                Internal
             Responsibility
                System


                              Committee or
Workers                       Representativ
                                   e
                                              42
To Be Effective…

   All elements of the IRS must be
    working simultaneous for it to be
    effective.

   If one link in the chain does not do
    their part, your system will be
    ineffective and non-compliant.

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Resources Cited
     “Workplace Bullying” – Dr.
      Gary Namie
     “Worksafe” – Victoria,
      Australia
     “Psychological Harassment” –
      Dr. V.C. Rowan
     Canada Safety Council

                                     45
Bullying       in the   Workplace
     Marvin Meickel, Employee Co-Chair
              City of Regina
    mmeickel@regina.ca         777-7710

				
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