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Is Bullying at Workplace Becoming as Bad as ....

Mon, 2 Dec 2013 Source: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley

....Bullying at School?

Asks Joe Kingsley Eyiah, OCT, Brookview M. S., Toronto-Canada

“Making a complaint or holding someone to account for substandard conduct, so long as it is done fairly and reasonably in good faith, is not bullying”-Anonymous

November saw a lot of attention been drawn to bullying at our schools. Schools in Toronto celebrated bullying awareness week with classroom lessons, assemblies and workshops on how to make our schools “bullying-free”! Students were made to image and discuss schools without bullying. Some of the salient points considered included behavior management and standing up to bullies.

Bullying is considered by experts as the ways in which boys and girls act out their aggression. It usually occurs amongst younger teens and pre-teens and usually begins to fade by the later teen years. Research has shown that later primary and middle school years are the crucial years to be aware of bullying! Bullying is harmful and can lead to depression, body image issues, and low self-esteem. Both girls and boys can bully in the form of racist, sexist or homophobic remarks.

There had been situations where the bullied had taken lives in solitary. The dangers associated with bullying are frightening.

I was surprised to learned during the same week that bullying at workplace is as rampant as bullying at school! Adults bullying adults?

Bullying or Harassment at Workplace?

harassment or assault - whereas bullying tends to be an accumulation of many small incidents over a long period of time. Each incident tends to be trivial, and on its own and out of context does not constitute an offence or grounds for disciplinary or grievance action.

People are bullied in long term jobs, by managers, co-workers or subordinates, or by clients (bullying, workplace bullying, mobbing, work abuse, harassment, discrimination) and, also, in short term jobs such as the performing arts, agriculture or construction, where the engager, gangmaster or supervisor has complete power over workers.(bullying, harassment, discrimination, assault). Such acts of bullying are not reported in the media as we hear about bullying at school. Work abuse is a serious form of bullying whereby subordinate workers are unduly subjected to unnecessary workloads by the ‘powers that be’ at the workplace. The junior staff or workers for the fear of losing their jobs put up with such workplace bullying!

It must be noted that making a complaint or holding someone to account for substandard conduct, so long as it is done fairly and reasonably in good faith, is not bullying. However, if such complain is continuously made by the manager to frustrate the worker despite the worker’s good efforts at work then the complain or the bad remarks about the worker becomes an act of bullying! Workplace bullying destroys teams, causing disenchantment, demoralisation, demotivation, disaffection, and alienation. Bullies run dysfunctional and inefficient organisations; staff turnover and sickness absence are high whilst morale, productivity and profitability are low. Any perceived efficiency gains from bullying are a short term illusion: Long term prospects are always at serious risk. Those bullied become isolated, controlled and subjugated.

Unfortunately, research has shown that, bullying happens under the noses of those who should care enough to stop it but who don't, either because they simply cannot believe it could happen, or because they fear of the consequences (for them) of doing something about it. Thus, targets of bullying and abuse are often not believed when they do report it.

It is reported, “people who bully in adult life tend to be drawn to positions offering them ostensibly legitimate power of some sort, such as jobs that come with administrative or organizational authority over others. It is possible for a sufficiently dishonest person to abuse a position of trust to conceal negligence, incompetence, fraud and more, without ever being held accountable. Subjugation and control by guilt and by threats of worse to come allows abusers to take what they want, and to minimize the risk of being reported, or of such reports being believed by, appropriate authorities.”

As we say to students who are being bullied to stand up to the bullies, workers who are being bullied MUST ALSO STAND UP to their bullies. What do you think?

Columnist: Eyiah, Joe Kingsley

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