Workplace bullying is not OK
Bullying is widespread in the public sector, especially in health and education. Here are a number of resources to help you recognise bullying and advice on how to go about putting a stop to it.
What is bullying?
Bullying can be described as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse of power that undermines, humiliates or injures the recipient.
It can take many forms but common examples include:
Spreading malicious rumours or insulting someone
Copying emails about someone to others who do not need to know
Picking on someone or setting them up to fail
Overbearing supervision or overloading someone with work
Making threats about job security
Using abusive and humiliating language
Exclusion or victimisation or any unfair treatment.
Bullying can be hard to recognise. It can sometimes be confused with 'firm management'. Bullying can occur at all levels. It is not just limited to cases where managers deliberately pick on their staff. It can exist between co-workers and colleagues and staff can also engage collectively in bullying their manager. It may not be obvious to others and the recipient may think that 'it is normal behaviour in this organisation'. They may be anxious that others consider them weak or simply 'not up to the job' if they raise a complaint. Other work colleagues may be scared to support them for fear of retribution.
Further information is available in the Department of Labour bullying factsheet
PSA handbook on creating safe workplaces
A handbook for delegates on identifying and dealing with bullying behaviours in the workplace. Go here
Survey finds bullying is widespread in the state sector
Abusive and intimidating behaviours are widespread in the state sector, according to a 2010 survey by the SSC into standards of integrity and conduct. Read
Women are especially vulnerable to bullying and discrimination
A 2011 survey of 7292 PSA women members in the public service found that 43% had experienced bullying. Read the full report here.