Thursday, June 24, 2010

the workplace

Someone I know has been going through an interesting time at work. If I didn't know any better I'd say it was a sandpit wrestle more commonly carried out by toddlers. Why adults are able to display crazy attitudes in a professional environment and think this behavior is acceptable is beyond me. It is entertaining to a certain degree, but for the people involved it's just a pain in the proverbial. So what are we dealing with here?

Wiki: "Workplace bullying, like childhood bullying, is the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behaviour against a co-worker or subordinate. Workplace bullying can include such tactics as verbalnonverbalpsychologicalphysical abuse and humiliation. This type of aggression is particularly difficult because unlike the typical forms of school bullying, workplace bullies often operate within the established rules and policies of their organization and their society. Bullying in the workplace is in the majority of cases reported as having been perpetrated by management and takes a wide variety of forms:

These fun and games take place over time, and before you know it we are seriously wondering why we are working in this environment at all. What are we doing here again? 

So what can we do when we're niggled at?

1. Deflect the bully if you can. Remain calm, stand firm, and try to keep up a confident appearance. Keep a detailed record of every incident; you will need it as proof if you decide to make a complaint.
2. Check your job description. If you suddenly find yourself being set menial tasks, or are given an increased workload with shorter deadlines, and it isn't in your contract then you can do something about it.
3. Try to get witnesses to bullying incidents, and avoid situations where you are alone with the bully.
4. Get advice from your trade union, or from personnel and health and safety officers at work. Does your employer have a policy on harassment or against unacceptable behaviour?
5. Take a stress management course, and do some assertiveness training. They are good for your general health, and will help you in the future.
6. If you go ahead with a complaint, choose your words carefully. State the facts clearly, but don't get sucked into a slanging match - you could be accused of malicious behaviour.
7. Get emotional support from your family and friends, talk to them about how you are feeling. Ask your GP about counselling. Take sick leave if you need it.
8. If you decide to leave your job because of the bullying, let your company know exactly why you are resigning. It may help others in the future.
9. If you wish to pursue a legal claim against your employer, start by taking advice from your union. If you have a good case, they will take it up on your behalf.
10. Many forms of legal action that may be possible, including: industrial tribunals, civil claims for personal injury, and sometimes even criminal action.
(source tips: TheSite)
Sticking to the facts seem to be the go. I would also suggest to look at our own "contributions". There are always 2 sides to the story and it would not be credible if we didn't ponder what we might have added to the mix. Yes some people are just pricks, still, let's not rule out our own intriguing dispositions. That way, if we sit in that air-conditioned room with a member of the Union present, glaring over a stand-in-coffee, we know where we stand and where we're at. 
"The best defense is a good offence?" Just do your homework amigo.

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