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TEAM Bullying Policy

The Telecommunications Employees Association of Manitoba (TEAM) Bullying Policy.

The purpose of TEAM is to promote the interests of the membership; to advance the social and economic welfare of its members; to represent any or all employees covered by the certificate(s) in discussion with their employer(s); and to negotiate such points as: compensation, working conditions, benefits and/or any other pertinent problems or issues that may exist or arise.

Definitions of Workplace Bullying

“Bullying is a compulsive need to displace aggression and is achieved by the expression of inadequacy (social, personal, interpersonal, behavioral, professional, etc.) by projection of that inadequacy onto others through control and subjugation (criticism, exclusion, isolation, etc.).

Bullying is sustained by abdication of responsibility (denial, counter-accusation, pretence of victim hood) and perpetuated by a climate of fear, ignorance, indifference, silence, denial disbelief, deception, evasion of accountability, tolerance and reward (e.g. promotion) for the bully”

Tim Field, 1999

“Bullying – involves deliberate, hurtful and repeated mistreatment of a target. Bullying can occur among coworkers, or be directed by subordinates against superiors, but the most common form of bullying involves the abuse of power by superiors against subordinates. Some people hold informal power over others as opposed to legitimate power; i.e. power granted by the organization to establish superior-subordinate relationships. Bullying involves repeated mistreatment of a target. The difference between bullying and aggression is, aggression may include a single act and not an on-going pattern of harm doing. Not all forms of aggression represent acts of bullying but all forms of bullying involve aggression.”

Ilona Orosz, 2001

In an effort to lead by example to our membership and employers, TEAM adopted the following Bullying Policy within our membership, the Business Office and Executive Board:

     1.  Work to have adult bullying recognized for the problem that it is in our workplace and that it is wrong to
          practice it;
  1. Recognize the dynamics of the power relationships where such bullying takes place as we have with sexual harassment;
  2. Understand the devastating effect that bullying has upon the victim, and that this can be as devastating as a physical assault;
  3. Work to raise public, membership and corporate consciousness to the fact that bullying is not a private matter, but a public issue;
  4. Encourage people to talk about their experiences and to speak out against bullying;
  5. Endeavor to add anti-bullying clauses into the collective agreement as they have in other Commonwealth countries;
  6. Have the effects of adult bullying recognized under compensation rules as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which it is;
  7. Lobby for legislation that would discourage people in power positions from using bullying to maintain control and order; and
  8. Encourage our politicians to stand up and say that they will work to end the practice of adult bullying in Canada.
The chart below illustrates some of the features that distinguish non-bullying from bullying behaviours

 

Bullying behaviour

Non-Bullying behaviour

Abdicate responsibility

Accept responsibility for own behaviour

Plagiarize, takes all the credit

Share credit

Deny failings, always blame others

Acknowledge failings

Inconsistent, critical, single people out, show favouritism

Be fair, treat all equally

Favours weaker employees, recruits henchmen and toadying types

Seek to involve people more knowledgeable and experienced than self

Include and exclude people selectively

Include everyone

Dominate, set a poor example

Lead by example

Is aggressive

Is assertive

Divisive, use manipulation and threat

Build team spirit

Dump

Delegate

Tell

Listen, guide, instruct

Withhold information, release information selectively, use information as a weapon

Share information freely, within the bounds of privacy legislation

Revel in confusion, divide and rule

Always strive for clarity

Obsessed with the past

Focus on the future

Following is some addition information to better define bullying, its many types and how to recognize it:

Bullying is about persistent unwelcome behaviour:

  • Unwarranted, invalid or trivial criticism, nit-picking or fault-finding (often called constructive criticism),
  • Overruled, ignored, sidelined and marginalized,
  • Denied information, resources and supports,
  • Excluded and isolated, singled out and treated differently,
  • Shouted at, belittled, ridiculed, patronized and humiliated,
  • Unclear, unachievable, constantly moving goals and deadlines,
  • Overloaded or having work taken away,
  • Increased responsibility combined with decreased authority,
  • Work stolen and presented by others,
  • Undermined and embarrassed – especially in front of others,
  • Monitored excessively and coerced to resign, retire or into ill health.
Many types of pure bullying:
  • Pressure bullying – where the stress of the moment causes behaviours to deteriorate and tempers to flare.
  • Organizational bullying – where an organization struggles to adapt to external pressures – changing markets, reduced revenue streams, budget cuts, imposed expectations.
  • Corporate bullying – where the employer abuses employees knowing that the law is weak and jobs are scarce.
  • Institutional bullying – where bullying takes hold and becomes part of the organization’s culture.
  • Client bullying – where employees are bullied by those they serve.
  • Serial bullying – where the bully has to have someone to bully.
  • Secondary bullying – where a bully’s presence rubs off on others who begin to imitate bullying behaviour.
  • Pair bullying – where two people engage in bullying – one talks and the other watches and listens.
  • Gang bullying – where groups of people engage in mobbing victims. Some appear to enjoy being gang members while others are coerced to join in. The extrovert bully leads from the front; the introvert leads quietly from the background. If anything backfires, the bully sacrifices gang members.
  • Vicarious bullying – where another person becomes the bully’s instrument. The bully stokes the conflict but rarely takes part.
  • Regulation bullying – where a bully forces compliance with rules, regulations, procedures or laws regardless of appropriateness, applicability or necessity.
  • Residual bullying – where the dysfunctional environment continues after the bully departs – “like recruits like”.
  • Cyber bullying – where business systems (internet, e-mail) are used to defame or stalk another person.

People become bullies in an environment where bullying is the norm.

There are few bystanders.

People adopt bullying tactics to survive or they become the next victim.

Top 10 Acts of Workplace Bullying:

1.        Talking about someone behind his/her back

2.        Interrupting others when they are speaking or working

3.        Flaunting status or authority; acting in a condescending manner

4.        Belittling someone’s opinion to others

5.        Failing to return phone calls or respond to memos

6.        Giving others the silent treatment

7.        Insults, yelling and shouting

8.        Staring, dirty looks or other negative eye contact

9.        Intentionally damning with faint praise

10.     Verbal forms of sexual harassment

Typical sequence of events:

1.        Target selected and bullied (for months, if not years)

2.        Target asserts self – objects to treatment, perhaps files complaint

3.        Bully is interviewed – presents opposing viewpoints, lies and charms

4.        Your word against mine – weak or no evidence

5.        Investigators are hood-winked

6.        Target leaves

7.        Bully-free period

8.        Bully re-engages – selects new target

9.        Employer unlikely to acknowledge error

10.     Future compromised – increased efforts to keep quiet – avoid discomfort of dealing with bully

Information about dealing with hostile workplaces can be located at the following websites:

·         www.workplaceviolence.ca

·         www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/violence.html

·         www.workdoctor.com

·         www.successunlimited.co.uk

·         www.safety-council.org/info/OSH/bullies.html

·         www.bullybuster.org

·         www.noworkviolence.com

·         www.worktrauma.org

·         www.workplacebullying.com

·         www.workstress.net

·         www.swissinfo.org

·         www.mobbing-usa.com

·         www.workplacebullying.co.uk

·         www.er.uqam.ca/nobel/r13566/