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  • Writer's pictureTim Sanderson

"Bully For You"

Workplace bullying is one of the major causes of psychological injury in the workplace.

Bullying can lead to a whole range of symptoms which interfere with your quality of life, normal functioning and your work.

Victims of workplace bullying often describe symptoms which might include

  • upset stomach

  • tearful and crying

  • suicidal thoughts

  • sad and withdrawn

  • rebellious or impulsive actions

  • muscle twitches or trembling

  • loss of self-esteem and sense of self worth and competency

  • insomnia and/or other sleep problems

  • Inability to concentrate

  • feelings of hopelessness, and/or being trapped

  • feeling fatigue and overtired

  • body pains or unexplained soreness or 'bone weary'

  • acute startle response

as well as symptoms identifiable in their own right as Anxiety and Depression. Its important to remember that these symptomatic reactions are normal. They are your mind and body responding to a stressful and uncontrollable situation

An important thing to bear in mind in a situation like this is that the main issue has got to be to get the bullying to stop. Along with an opportunity for you to heal and regain confidence and health, to be able to return to work and simply 'do your job.'

In a situation like this always, always talk to your doctor.

Talk to your Union about the best way to deal with the situation. Fear of reprisal and losing a job often prevents victims from taking action, and with good reason, supervisors can be reluctant to deal with bullies and often claims based on bullying are challenged and declined. I have known Employers lie about workplace culture and behaviour in order to protect themselves and their Workers Compensation premium. Sadly the most common outcome where bullying occurs is the victim resigns or ends up being sacked. The bullying doesn't stop there, someone else then becomes the target. The problem hasn't been resolved and there has already been a massive cost to the company or department, not forgetting the cost to the victim.

Bullying Policy

Anti Bullying policies are an essential part of any workplace today. Policies and procedures with teeth that have clear actionable steps when there is an issue. Processes have traditionally & historically been dealt with 'confidentially.' when these situations arise, but in fact this inevitably aids the bully in my opinion. A healthy dose of sunshine and accountability is really what needs to happen. There is no shame in stating that you have been bullied. And certainly no shame in being clear about expecting your employer/manager/director to make the workplace safe by dealing with the bully and the bullying behaviour directly. No, Bullying is not a 'personality clash.' There's no such thing. And no, there aren't two sides of the story in bullying either. Workplace bullying, however subtle is a form of workplace violence.

Things that don't work in bullying situations.

  • Keeping quiet

  • Mediation - ineffective. Up to you of course, I know of no occasion where this ever has worked.

  • Not raising the issue in writing - in other words create a paper trail. Use email.

  • Not speaking to your Union or association first - Off site personnel are often preferable.

  • Thinking you can get through this on your own.

  • Not talking to your GP

  • Thinking there's something wrong with you if you have to talk to a psychologist - there really isn't.

No it's not easy. But with help and support you can deal with a bullying situation.

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