Month: October 2013

Gill’s Story

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“Bullying may be characterised as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.” ACAS

The bullying for me began with a meeting I was called to by a person in a very high position of power and authority within the public sector. I was told to bring a particular person who had a great deal of control and influence over my career. When I arrived, there was another public sector worker who had planned to make changes to the organization I was responsible for. I had disagreed with these changes and provided sound reasons based on objective data. At the meeting, I was threatened with legal action regarding a letter I was accused of writing. There was no letter at the meeting and when I asked what I had supposedly written, the bully could not tell me. I was therefore unable to defend myself as I had no idea what was being referred to. However because of the position this person held, he was believed and my reputation and professionalism and therefore my career and career progress were immediately harmed. Further actions were then taken by another senior public sector worker to undermine my position and career prospects further.

Tim Field, a victim of bullying, states in his book ‘Bully In Sight’ that bullying occurs when one person, typically (but not necessarily) in a position of power, authority, trust, responsibility, management etc, feels threatened by another person, usually (but not always) a subordinate who is displaying qualities of ability, popularity, knowledge, skill, strength and determination, tenacity, success etc. If necessary, the bully abuses his position of power, or calls on those with power to achieve these ends.

Because of the evidence I provided showing that the planned changes by the public sector worker did not make sense she got her superior to use his power to humiliate, threaten and injure me. I dared to show that I had knowledge, determination and tenacity to defend my organisation. After they had ‘injured’ me by seriously harming my reputation and bringing into doubt my professionalism and judgement, their plans finally were passed.

Tim Fields states “You have foolishly dared to disagree with the bully (and) have had the temerity to point out the foolhardiness, impracticability, short sightedness and inequableness of management’s plans for change and will now be subjected to (bullying) behaviours.

For me, Tim Fields has explained clearly the reasons why senior public sector workers decided to subject me to bullying behaviours. This resulted in me having to resign from the job that I had loved for 25 years because I could no longer face going into work where my reputation and professionalism had been seriously tarnished and the people who were responsible for supporting me not only turned their back on me but actually supported the bullying behaviour by ignoring all the evidence I tried to show them.

Tim Fields states, the abuse is usually a manager and when the abuse is revealed the employer, personnel and legal system express disbelief, horror and denial that such a horrific act could be taking place in their midst.

Does any of this sound similar to you? Perhaps your experience is different. Does your employer keep adding more and more to your workload? Are you shouted at consistently in front of colleagues? Have you been undermined and humiliated? Has bullying affected your family and relationships. Has it affected you financially? Do you dread going into work each day? Do you try to evade certain people or situations? Please tell us your story – we are listening.

Support the campaign to introduce legislation to protect workers against workplace bullying in the UK

Unfair Employment Practices

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Have you ever suffered stress because of unfair employment practices such as bullying?

Have you had your career ruined because you have had your reputation damaged owing to defamation?

Are you working under a zero hour contract, causing you financial insecurity, child minding problems or stress?

If you are experiencing any of these problems we would love to hear from you.

Did you know that UK workers are the third least protected within the work place out of 40 developed countries? Only the USA and Canada have less employment protection for its workers than the UK. 2008 OECD (http://xperthr.co.uk/blogsemployment-intelligance/2013/03employment-law-reform-progress/#sthash.8QMj41F4.dpuf)

If you have suffered bullying, there is nothing you can do as successive governments have failed to pass the Dignity at Work Bill. . Lord Monkswell steered the Bill through the House of Lords in December 1996 and January 1997. It was then blocked by John Major’s Government in February 1997. The Bill started its progress again through the House of Lords in December 2001 under the guidance of Baroness Ann Gibson.

Defamation can only be heard in a High Court. Costs for this do not come in under £150,000 and regularly reach £500,000. Legal aid is not available so it is out of the reach of most people. (Tracey Brown MD of Sense About Science – libel reform campaign  www.libelreform.org

Bullying, defamation and financial insecurity causes stress.

Taken from Business Matters:  November 20th 2012

Stress is among the biggest problems in British workplaces, with the cost to the British economy being estimated at £3.7 billion per year with more than 13 million employees at risk of mental health problems caused by the stress of their jobs, according to new research published [on 20th November 2012].

Dr Jeremy Broadhead, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Group, commissioned the research, 

The HSE Labour Force Survey 2010/11 found that 10.8 million working days were lost due to stress, anxiety or depression, and the average number of days lost during each absence was 27.

It is not just absence which hits business. Figures from the Centre for Mental Health show that most people suffering with stress continue to work, but may struggle with concentration and effective decision making. It is estimated that this ‘presenteeism’ costs UK businesses £15.1 billion per year in reduced productivity.

With recent legislative changes, including the introduction of Employment Tribunal fees; the introduction of ‘owner employee’ contracts of employment, (under which employees will be given shares in exchange for waiving certain employment rights) and removal of the provisions on third party harassment in the Equality Act 2010, there is even less protection for English workers. (Employment Law Reform 2013:progress on reform)

Currently, there is decreasing spending on welfare protection and increasing barriers to employment protection. This will affect the level of stress experienced not just for those on low pay but also those in established well paid professions.

Improved employment rights/ protection provide workers with more security and confidence which is conducive to good mental health.

Dr Jeremy Broadhead and the HSE Labour Force have provided plenty of data to show the benefit of addressing stress in the workplace. The CAB want to hear about the personal stories behind this data.

How has stress  effected  you?  What caused your stress?

We want to highlight the personal impact and struggle of day to day living because of the lack of employment protection and legislation.

Support the campaign to introduce legislation to protect workers against workplace bullying in the UK