Bullying beyond the schoolyard

15 Jul 11 07:00AM EST
Post by Brendan Mays
Depressed man

What happens in the playground can stay with us for a long time. That’s not always a bad thing, but when it comes to bullying, it’s hard to see any good in being picked on relentlessly. Combine this sentiment with easy access to online mediums like YouTube, and it’s not surprising people like Casey Heynes become pin-ups for the victims of bad behaviour.

However, the problem of bullying doesn’t always end when you leave school. Many bring these same battles to their adult working lives. We hear about this when it involves a lot of money – like the infamous David Jones Mark McInnes case or the ongoing lawsuit involving a Pacific Brands executive - when it’s unbelievable and sometimes when it’s just plain heart wrenching .

What is surprising is that we don’t hear about it more often considering the depth and scope of the problem. An estimate from the Productivity Commission put the cost to the economy broadly at around $15 billion. There were thousands of cases of reported bullying and harassment, and given the nature of workplace bullying, it’s not hard to imagine the real effects are hard to effectively gauge.

Some more facts about bullying that might surprise you include that women carry out bullying more than men; that a workplace bully is more likely to be a boss than a co-worker; and, there’s a one in two chance that a bullying victim will be over 46. At least, that’s what a recent survey from know-bull.com (PDF) revealed.

Whether you’re a business owner, a boss or an employee, it’s worthwhile having a think about bullying and becoming educated. If you’re unaware, the costs can be big (and that’s not just for executives). If you feel bullied at work, it’s well within your rights to take action. Here are a few tips to get you started: 

  • You might not like everything that happens around your work, but that doesn’t mean it’s bullying. Bullying is classified as physical, verbal, social or psychological abuse by someone within your workplace. 
  • If you’re being bullied, even if other people don’t see it that way, you should report it to your boss (as long as you feel safe doing so). Your employer has a legal obligation to protect your welfare in the workplace.
  • Keep a record of the bullying activity and the attempts you have made to fix the problem. In the event a situation remains unresolved, you can make a formal complaint to the Human Rights Commission.

Visit Reachout.com to find out more.

Do you think we have a culture of sweeping workplace bullying under the rug? Do reports of bullying affect your loyalty to the brand involved?

Last week…

CHOICE’s Facebook fans discussed censorship in Australia. Make sure you get involved and share your opinion.

Anthony said, "They censor fact but not fiction - I mean seriously those anti-ageing creams, etc are all a load of bull, yet they are allowed say all this crap on air. Have we lost the plot”

April said, “I think Get Up's advert was simply an exercise of freedom of speech, and only if the information they were presenting was actually wrong, should it have been censored.”

And finally, Shannon said, “Censorship is wrong. Plain and simple.”


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