200 Protest Against Workplace Bullying

Following a recent protest which involved 200 workers from a distribution centre belonging to the transport giant Linfox, I have decided to take a closer look into bullying in the workplace, what it constitutes and the psychological effects on the victim.

We recently read about the protest in Melbourne’s western suburbs involving disgruntled workers who were fed up with the unresolved bullying and harassment being allowed on the worksite.

Workers used their break time to protest about the bullying they were subjected to by managers at the warehouse.

One female worker who worked as a casual agency employee said that she had been unfairly fired after complaining of sexual harassment from a colleague. She said that she had been harassed for five months and after she had confronted her colleague over his behaviour she was no longer called in to work at the distribution centre.

Despite these accusations the company involved, Linfox claimed that there were no such practices taking place on the job site and that the unions were exploiting the opportunity to gain more supporters.

But bullying and harassment are more serious than many managers and employers may realise and although many companies care more about productivity than they do workers wellbeing, workers in a happy working environment have proven to be more productive and financially profitable for the company. Conversely unhappy and mentally affected workers are less productive and costly to the company.

While bullying can sometimes trigger mild annoyance, in some cases it can trigger severe psychological consequences which can affect a person’s entire life. the negative health effects of workplace bullying linger on well after the bullying has ceased. In some extreme cases bullying and harassment has in the past led to suicide.

It has been proven that workers who are the victim of bullying suffer higher level of anxiety than others do.

I found an interesting post on http://www.psychology.org.au/ where the research of a Sydney based clinical psychologist was discussed. Workplace bullying specialist Keryl Egan has formulated three workplace bully profiles which is discussed in the post and can be useful in dealing with bullying behaviour in your workplace :

“…the accidental bully, the narcissistic bully, and the serial bully. Egan describes the accidental bully as emotionally blunt, aggressive and demanding. “This person is task orientated and just wants to get things done, tends to panic when things are not getting done, and goes into a rage about it. This person is basically decent, they don’t really think about the impact of what’s happened or what they have done. They are responding to stress a lot of the time.” Importantly, Egan believes this type of bully can be trained or coached out of the bullying behaviour.

The second profile formulated by Egan is the narcissistic bully, who is grandiose and has fantasies of breath-taking achievement. “This type of bully feels they deserve power and position. They can fly into rages whenever reality confronts them. This person is very destructive and manipulative, they don’t set out in a callous way to annihilate any other person – it’s purely an expression of their superiority.”

Finally, Egan’s third profile is that of the serial bully “who has a more sociopathic or psychopathic personality. This type of bully is intentional, systematic, and organised and the bullying is often relentless. They usually get things done in terms of self interest, not in the interest of the company.” Egan’s serial bully employs subtle techniques that are difficult to detect or prove and training or coaching is always unsuccessful”

Source: http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/workplace_bullying/



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