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.

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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)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Disproving the seven myths about workplace bullying

Josh Bornstein of Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, has launched a "provocative attack today on the state of Australia's legal and policy approach to workplace bullying, describing it as a failure for employees and employers alike".

He spoke at a forum in Melbourne, saying that legislation like Brodie's law is "useless in about 95 per cent of workplace bullying cases."
He also rejected the use of criminal law to address workplace bullying.
He also addressed the seven workplace bullying myths:
1. Workplace Bullying is illegal."Many employees assume that bullying is unlawful and actionable. The assumption is wrong. There is no statutory scheme in Australia that proscribes bullying". 
2. Workplace Bullying is a misguided reference to a personality conflict.
"While it has become fashionable by some to claim that bullying allegations are unfounded and simply the result of a personality conflict or relationship breakdown, this is a myth generated principally by jaded OH&S regulators and bottom-feeding consultants seeking to drum up work."
3: There is no definition of Workplace BullyingMost OH&S regulators use working definitions of bullying that are remarkably similar. Safe Work Australia defined the term to mean 'repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety'.
4. Workplace Bullying is a safety issue"Confining it to the realms of OH&S hasn't worked and won't work."
Law reform must allow victims of workplace bullying to take a complaint to a tribunal or court well before the situation has escalated to the point of damage to an employee's health."  
5. Employers should address Workplace Bullying by codes of conduct and policies"The era of the workplace policy or code of conduct being the key to managing workplace culture is well and truly over."
It is one thing to have a policy - "It's altogether another to actually manage workplace culture. The gulf between culture and policy can and is often significant." 
6. Workplace Bullying should be criminalised
"I couldn't disagree more. Criminal law should only intrude into the workplace in extreme situations. Most bullying cases are not criminal matters.
The criminalisation of workplace bullying is a misguided and ineffective way to address workplace bullying and provide victims with remedies".
7. The way forward"The fact that something is difficult is no reason not to address it properly. This issue can be addressed, and in order to reduce the incidence of workplace bullying, a new policy and legislative approach is overdue"
Mr Bornstein concluded by stating that an educational campaign together with law reform would save millions in lost productivity, healthcare costs and social welfare payments.  

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