Promote an 'if you see it, call it' message to workers

by Iain Hopkins18 Mar 2013

Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell used the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on Friday to appeal to all Australians to think about how they can take action against bullying.

Carnell said people should follow the mantra of “If you see it, call it” to ensure bullies everywhere know their behaviour is unacceptable.

The National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence was organised by Australian education authorities and saw schools across the country participate in order to strengthen the message that bullying and violence are never ok. The message is also an important one for the workplace, and if leaders do not take a stand against bullying, it could reinforce the idea that such behaviour is ok.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s in the workplace, at school or online, any form of bullying is unacceptable,” Carnell said. “Bullying is a major cause of stress which, if it continues for a long-time, can lead to depression and anxiety. It can do real damage to people’s lives which is why we all have a responsibility to speak up and stop it where we can,” she said.

Recent figures by UMR Research revealed a staggering one in three workers have been bullied at work, and over half of them are the victim of persistent office gossip or malicious rumours. Micro managers breathing down employee's necks are a major complaint, with 57% reporting that they have been unfairly micromanaged at some point in their careers. In addition, ‘stolen thunder’, being blamed for other worker's mistakes’, ‘verbal abuse’ and ‘unjustified criticism’ were the main complaints of Australian workers.

In this study, co-workers were found to be the most common culprits, responsible for some 53% of bullying cases, followed by managers at 47%, supervisors at 36% and business owners at 16%.


  • by March 18/03/2013 5:33:20 PM

    Congratulations to Beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell for a positive step forward. My ex CEO was the bully in our workplace and all of her General Managers. If the CEO was informed about bullying in the workplace,she would say "Don't want to know" and the Business Advisor we had was a major bully who put Managers down so much, they would cry

  • by Blackcat 18/03/2013 10:46:45 PM

    There is much to be said about every industry adopting the National Day of Action. It might not be such a pie in the sky idea once the national legislation is proclaimed, I urge everyone to read the 2012 report to the Australian Federal government titled "We Just Wanted It to Stop".
    Workcover SA has awarded the Augusta Zadow scholarship to Dr Moira Jenkins from Aboto Psychology for investigation of bullying effects on targets. Keep a look out for this work in 2013.

  • by Bernie Althofer 19/03/2013 8:59:37 AM

    Despite some great changes being made in some organisations, there is still the need to create open and transparent workplace cultures where bullying is tolerated to the point of acceptance.

    It is important to understand that whilst the reported data creates considerable concern about the level of workplace bullying, there are also a number of incidents that are not 'officially' reported in organisations. Targets seek advice from external sources, find out what the resolution options are, and in some cases make an informed decision not to proceed.

    This makes it difficult for executives to have a comprehensive understanding of the magnitude of workplace bullying. Whilst some might see that some complaints are swept under the carpet, changing the 'acceptability' of bullying as a 'way of life' has to be driven by executives.

    When organisations start including workplace bullying data in regular reports at Board level, then the focus may change. Asking the question as to why individuals are not reporting workplace bullying may tell more about the organisational policy and procedures and the workplace culture than the data showing the number of reported incidents.

    I think the concept of 'if you see it, call it' is great. However, it is important to change workplace cultures so that those who do call it are supported as much as those being targeted.

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