Bullying at the University of Newcastle (Australia)

We are working to highlight and stop academic workplace bullying at the University of Newcastle, Australia. We are a group of staff and students who have been bullied for speaking out about misconduct.

Help make a difference –

*answer our survey,

*contribute to the blog, or

*contact us.

This will help us gather as much information as possible so that we can put an end to this bullying with its’ decades-long history.

“Systemic bullying, hazing and abuse generally are identified with poor, weak or toxic organizational cultures. Cultures that are toxic have stated ethical values that are espoused but not employed, and other non-ethical values which are operational, dominant, but unstated.

Such cultures thrive when good people are silent, silenced, or pushed out; when bad apples are vocal, retained, promoted, and empowered; and when the neutral majority remain silent in order to survive. Those who are most successful in such a toxic culture are those who have adapted to it, or adopted it as their own”. (McKay, Arnold, Fratzl & Thomas, 2008)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Recruitment, promotion and other employment issues

From our website-based survey into the nature of bullying at the University of Newcastle, many respondents have raised issues concerning recruitment, promotion and other employment issues.
·         Members of the “in-group” or favourites are given ongoing positions at the university, instead of other, more qualified applicants (often casual members of staff).  Examples of comments are “There is a large amount of favouritism, especially in terms of promotion and employment opportunities”, “Despite (lengthy) years of casual employment, I was not given an interview for a full time position, even though it was essentially the job I had been doing for the past five years”, “the favourite was offered the job BEFORE interview, even though she did not fulfil the essential criteria of the position”, “my position was deliberately made untenable.  I had worked there for 2.5 years, with nothing but positive feedback. Despite repeated contract extensions in that period, I was suddenly told my position was going out to competitive process in which I was ultimately unsuccessful”.

  ·         A common “reward” for bullies and their collaborators is reported to be promotion e.g. “Bully promoted even though there were other complaints of bullying about her, bully continues to be promoted”, . That bully was then further promoted”, “The bully was promoted soon after her episodes with me. The perpetrator continues to be promoted to various positions around the university, and protected by others in power that uphold and accept her behaviour”, “The result of their experience left them with the attitude that those who report any wrongdoing will be annihilated and those who are committing the wrongdoing will be promoted”.

·         Authority and responsibilities are removed from people who complain about being bullied. I have been moved out of the work area and my responsibilities have been stripped and reassigned to others”, “A supervisor changed the nature of my position without consultation and then terminated my employment because I was not meeting the newly defined goals. They cut off any discussion from me and finished my employment without consultation”, “I have also seen others that were stripped of their responsibilities and titles and slipped into lower jobs away from the section and had their teaching load reduced”, “Work which I have done is taken and in official documents described as someone (else’s) work and this person is going to be promoted”, “differential workloads and salaries for in-group and out-group members”.

·         There are numerous reports of respondents who have complained about bullying being moved into other positions or into other areas of the University.
These are just some of the Human Resources-related issues that have been raised by respondents to our survey.  The message to staff and students is
“Complain about bullying and you will lose everything and the bullies will be lauded and promoted”.

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