There is no doubt that Workplace Bullying has been in the spotlight for many years. With the introduction of ‘Brodie’s Law’; organisations are forced to act after a formal complaint and there are significant consequences for not doing so. It’s sad that someone had to take their own life for the laws to change. But are organisations really acting to stamp out bullying? Being new to the workforce makes you more vulnerable and although many workplaces are free from it (or think they are) – there are some people in organisations who just don’t know how their behaviour affects others.
Bullying is stated as repeated harassment on someone. This can be in the form of verbal abuse, written abuse or simply making you feel isolated (and much more). Now these claims seems pretty simple to understand and you’d think easy to interpret; however this is not always the case. Most bullying occurs behind closed doors so it is very difficult to prove. Most organisations have a strict policy on Bullying but some rarely ever legislate it. This may be because of stigma, fear or something else but not doing anything is often what occurs.
I know someone in the corporate world who was obviously bullied After attempts to deal with the bullying, she went to her supervisor who said it was simply a clash of personalities. She kept on working as she loved her job but the bullying became unbearable. I won’t go into detail but it was a difficult time. Firstly, she spoke to the Employee Relations Advisor who seemed to take her complaint seriously and even said that others had similar complaints. Then it was escalated to the General Manager. She was advised to put the complaint in writing and it was here that the complaint became intense. The GM asked her if she wanted to take a ‘supported exit’ meaning that she would leave the organisation and get paid for a few months. If she had taken this (and maybe it would have been easier given the state she was in) – everything would have been swept under the carpet and she would have had to leave a job that she truly enjoyed. The organisation would have moved on and everyone in it would be none the wiser.
So she chose not to take the ‘supported exit’ and fight for her job. This got so intense that at one stage she was hospitalised. It was only then that the organisation started to act.
Now I am definitely not saying that this is the case in most organisations (quite the contrary), however if you feel you are being bullied or victimised – check first that the organisation has a policy, keep documented notes (with dates) and try to leave the door open if you do find yourself in a room with a bully (that way others can hear it an witness the behaviour).
Be vigilant and keep an eye on each other – if you witness something – say something – it is all too often people are afraid to speak up for a victim of bullying. If you do witness it and are part of an investigation – be truthful and don’t be afraid of consequences as these are all confidential.
Stay true to yourselves and others around you and keep each other safe.