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)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Gagging clauses

The University of Sheffield in the UK has reportedly spent over GBP 1.8 milllion on "gagging orers" on former staff members in the last five years.

"The agreements are used when the University is in dispute with a staff member and are made through a voluntary process where both the University and the employee are legally represented. But unions fear that employees may sign compromise agreements because they fear the stress associated with taking legal action or remaining in work.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) said: “We are seriously concerned that the new legislative provisions on the admissibility of settlement offers and discussions in unfair dismissal cases will send a signal to employers that they are free to sack staff for arbitrary reasons without needing to follow a fair disciplinary procedure."
"A former University employee who signed a compromise agreement told Forge Press: “Such is the stress of taking legal action against powerful organisations that many employees choose to sign a compromise agreement containing a gagging clause rather than pursue legal action and put their health in jeopardy.” "
At the University of Newcastle, 15 people reported in our survey that they had been gagged by the University.    As well as these fifteen individuals, we have had additional reports of ex-staff being gagged.
We estimate that each of these were given around $250,000 or more e.g. additional funding into their super.  This amount is low compared to the payouts of senior executives who have had their contracts paid out - these executives earn over $350,000 per year.
Conservatively this means that the University has spent $3.75 MILLION (15 x $250,000) on getting ex-staff to keep quiet about what happened to them.  A number of those gagged reported being harassed and bullied for exposing misconduct.
Unlike in the UK, NO-ONE in Australia seems to be concerned at this use of taxpayers' money.  

1 comment:

  1. Actually pretty horrified how bad my mental health is after attempting postgraduate study there.

    I was stripped of everything. My finances, my ambition, my dignity. The person responsible has no conscience and no qualms doing what he did.

    Why the University keeps this person reeks of something tremendously evil and unsettling.

    Something larger than what I am able to comprehend.

    A lot of people have left Newcastle. I guess it's my turn too.