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MAXIMISING POTENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE A lunchtime seminar series about employment relations & the world of work London, 23 February 2005

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Presentation on theme: "MAXIMISING POTENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE A lunchtime seminar series about employment relations & the world of work London, 23 February 2005"— Presentation transcript:

1 MAXIMISING POTENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE A lunchtime seminar series about employment relations & the world of work London, 23 February 2005

2 Mandy Telford - Amicus Tackling bullying at work Working together towards Dignity at Work Mandy Telford, Amicus

3 Mandy Telford - Amicus Structure Definitions of bullying Forms of bullying Statistics The impact on individuals and organisations What can we do? The law The Dignity at Work Partnership Summary

4 Mandy Telford - Amicus Definitions Persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair penal sanctions, which makes the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self- confidence and which may cause them to suffer stress. – Amicus Bullying is a form of organisational violence and as such is a potential source of work related stress. – Health and Safety Executive 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

5 Mandy Telford - Amicus Forms of bullying Bullying at work can take many forms. Bullies may- Subject target to constant humiliation or ridicule, belittling their efforts, often in front of others. Subject their target to excessive supervision, monitoring everything they do and being excessively critical about minor things. Constantly override the persons authority. Spread malicious rumours, ostracise and marginalise their target. Remove whole areas of responsibility from the person, reducing their job to tasks well below their skills and capabilities. Set impossible objectives and deadlines Use terror tactics, open aggression, threats, shouting, physical violence.

6 Mandy Telford - Amicus Destructive Conflict and Bullying at Work – UMIST research in 2000, Helge Hoel & Cary Cooper 1 in 10 workers been bullied in the last 6 months Varies between sectors, worst were Post and telecommunications – 16% Prison service – 16% Dance profession – 14% 12% of women and 10% of men reported as having been bullied 75% of bullies are managers However, bullying is equally likely to affect a manager as a worker 70% of those bullied are done so as part of a group For 2 out of 3 the bullying continues for more than a year For 2 out of 5 it goes on for more than 2 years

7 Mandy Telford - Amicus Effects of bullying on the individual Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem 1 third to half of work related stress may be caused by bullying at work (Cary Cooper) physical effects – headaches, sweating/shaking, feeling or being sick, inability to sleep, skin problems Psychological effects – anxiety, panic attacks, depression, tearfulness, poor concentration, feeling of dread Behavioural effects – becoming irritable, withdrawn, aggressive, increased consumption of tobacco/alcohol etc Those who witness bullying also suffer from increased stress

8 Mandy Telford - Amicus Effects on the organisation People working in a climate of fear and resentment do not give their best If bullying is not dealt with sickness and absence will increase, staff turnover will increase and moral and performance will fall The organisation will suffer a loss of production, increased sickness and re-training costs Huge threat to public image as well as the potential for further public exposure through cases taken to industrial tribunals

9 Mandy Telford - Amicus The national costs of bullying Workers who are bullied are absent for an extra 7 sickness days per year 19 million days are lost to bullying annually at a cost of £1.8 billion a year 25% of bullied leave their job Over 20% of witnesses leave their job Employee replacement costs total over £400 million a year

10 Mandy Telford - Amicus Why does it happen? Bullies can get away with it Some employers reluctant to admit it might be a problem in their organisation Bullied person is often unable to recognise and put a name to the treatment they are receiving Its just a personality clash Individual incidents often seem trivial and people are reluctant to raise them for fear of looking silly People are scared they will not be believed, disciplined and even sacked In case the bullying gets worse Aggressive management is part of the organisational culture No procedures for resolving problems

11 Mandy Telford - Amicus What can people do about it? Log all incidents of bullying. Immediately say it s not ok – once behaviour is established it s a lot more difficult If you cannot confront the bully, try writing a memo/email to make it clear why you object to their behaviour. Keep copies of all annual appraisals and letters/memos/emails relating to your ability to do the job. Find out if your employer has a policy on harassment or unacceptable behaviour, which may cover bullying. Make sure you have an independent witness with you at all meetings, official or unofficial.

12 Mandy Telford - Amicus What can organisations do? Make bullying a dismissal offence Have a clear policy and procedure (formal and informal) to deal with cases Protect everyone (complainant and accused) Be seen to be fair – often the target gets moved Be consistent Train employees to recognise, deflate, deflect and avoid the conflict escalating Communicate it. Use it. Monitor it. Review it

13 Mandy Telford - Amicus The Law There is no employment law that deals specifically with bullying at work. However, the law covers discrimination and harassment based on the following - sex race, colour, nationality, ethnic/national origin sexual orientation gender reassignment religion or belief disability union membership The Government are planning to introduce legislation in late 2006 that will outlaw age discrimination.

14 Mandy Telford - Amicus The Law No specific health and safety legislation deals with bullying at work. However, bullying is indeed a health and safety issue. Employers have a clear legal duty to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of their workers. (Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974) The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published guidance for employers on preventing stress at work which makes it clear that bullying can be a cause if stress and that preventative measures must include action to eliminate bullying where it exists. It is now a legal requirement for all employers to have a grievance procedure (The Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations).

15 Mandy Telford - Amicus The Dignity at Work Partnership Established, with funding from the DTI to tackle the issues of bullying and harassment in the workplace Amicus is the lead partner The Andrea Adams Trust provides advice Baroness Gibson chairs the steering group Founding members include – BAE Systems, BT, the Chemical Industries Association, legal & General, Remploy and Royal Mail We work in partnership in organisations to find ways of avoiding such problems

16 Mandy Telford - Amicus The Dignity at Work Partnership Project Aim To encourage employee representatives and employers to build cultures in which respect for individuals is regarded as an essential part of the conduct of all those who work in the organisation. The project will also increase awareness and knowledge of dignity at work issues, and encourage the development of partnership working in the workplace through the promotion of joint working on dignity at work.

17 Mandy Telford - Amicus The Dignity at Work Partnership Research of good practice approaches here and worldwide Development of a voluntary charter Dignity at Work Action Pack Model policies procedures Communication tools Suggested materials for promotion Training of managers and workers Confidential surveys before and after implementation

18 Mandy Telford - Amicus Summary Bullying is pervasive Widespread problem Is costly on a personal and organisational level Clear policies and procedures are a necessity Policies must be put into action There is no law that deals specifically with bullying Working in partnership, solutions can be found


20 MAXIMISING POTENTIAL IN THE WORKPLACE A lunchtime seminar series about employment relations & the world of work London, 23 February 2005

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