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)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is Australia becoming a sissy state regarding bullying?

Robert Wilson, the President and CEO of Workers Compensation in the USA, considers the code of practice to address bullying from SafeWork Australia to be too broad - saying they are "broad would be a blatant understatement."

He notes a number of issues with the code:-
  • It "even prohibits "eye-rolling responses" that might "diminish a person's dignity". "
  • "Workers left idle or underutilized may be able to file for workers' compensation, as the code lists "not providing enough work" as a form of "indirect bullying".
  • "Also in the "indirect bullying" category; a manager who constantly changes deadlines or sets timelines that are difficult to achieve may trigger such a claim. 
  • "Employers are advised to ban pranks and discourage "exclusive clubs or cliques", so workers are not "ostracized" by colleagues."
His favourite part is that "Safe Work Australia cannot actually use the words "bully" or "victim" in their proposed rules ....... felt that the terms would "label" people. The latest draft instead reads that people who behave in such a manner might be "unintentional" bullies."

He goes on to say
"They ban bullying in the workplace, making it a compensable event, but cannot label the bully as a bully, because it is apparently a hurtful and bullying thing to do. I suppose the unintentional bully could then go out on workers' comp as well, having been victimized by a mean and vicious label. At this rate it won't be long before the whole country is sitting at home pouting and waiting for a check".

Wilson states that he has "long felt a strong affinity for the Aussie population. My mental image of them is that of a rough and tumble lot, working and playing hard; enjoying life and living large". 

He concludes by saying  "I am not a proponent of workplace bullying, and do not support such behavior in any way, but these draconian restrictions strike me as absurd. At some point we have a responsibility for our own lives, and there are other remedies available to us when confronted with a real, rather than imagined, office bully".

Perhaps Mr Wilson would like to read about the nature of bullying that we have experienced at the University of Newcastle - that might change his mind about workplace bullying in Australia.

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