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Most workplace bullying claims dubious at best

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HC Online | 25 Jul 2011, 12:00 AM Agree 0
The number of workers claiming to have been bullied has skyrocketed, with complaints to WorkSafe Victoria more than doubling to 6,000 in the past year.

  • Bernie Althofer | 27 Jul 2011, 11:02 AM Agree 0
    Based on this article, it would appear that 90% of complaints made to WorkSafe were handled in a manner other than referral to the bullying response unit. It may well be the case that a number of these complaints were referred back to the workplace for investigation, follow up or some other action. It is interesting to note that whilst there is a published definition under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, various interpretations suggest different meanings. It is somewhat problematic for individuals and organisations to understand what is and what is not bullying or harassment, when there are variances in understanding basic concepts. It may be the case that there is still considerable educative work to be undertaken so that there is a better understanding of what constitutes bullying, and even reasonable management. Given recent discussions and inquiries by individuals seeking advice regarding actions they can take in relation to workplace bullying, it appears that there may be cases where management practices and/or communication are contributing factors that lead individuals to believe they are being bullied. In reality, some of these cases may be more actionable if allegations were made regarding constructive dismissal, discriminatory actions based on a range of attributes, or some other employment related issue. In any case where there is a hint of workplace conflict caused by any form of inappropriate behaviours such as bullying, harassment, sexual harassment or discrimination, action should be taken immediately. Delaying or avoidance tactics may only result in damage to organisational or individual reputation. If a manager says to an employee, "As a matter of interest, what do you have on next week", be prepared in case the employee makes an allegation that they were bullied. Be prepared for decisions that suggest the actions were unreasonable.
  • Dr.Peter Gorman | 02 Aug 2011, 03:20 PM Agree 0
    I agree whole heartedly with Bernie.I wonder of those who did not make the cut,sloped off somewhere else when in reality they were not advised to go to the Ombudsman to untangle the mess by the employer
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