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Jun 26 2012

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AU: Power with ill intent

Can you recognize bullying in the workplace?

A recent Employment Office poll revealed that 75% of workers have had experience with workplace bullying; more than 50% of the respondents believed their workplaces did not manage the situation effectively.

Over the past four years the Mackay Whitsunday Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC) has conducted more than 1100 mediations, 32 of which were workplace mediations.

This is 11% of workplace mediations for all DRCs across the state during that same period, a Department of Justice and Attorney-General spokesman said.

“Workplace bullying is often covert and not easily recognised. The victims often feel that it is something they are doing or it is difficult to provide evidence of the acts of bullying,” the spokesman said.

Workplace bullying can include psychological intimidation, threats, offensive jokes, shouting and organising social activities or groups against a person, they said.

“Bullying can be a group directed against an individual, peer bullying, a supervisor towards a subordinate and even a subordinate towards a manager,” the spokesman said.

Mackay Chamber of Commerce chair Kylie Porter said workplace bullying had a huge cost to both the individual and the company.

“While there’s an enormous emotional burden to the individual involved, there’s also a real financial cost to the business,” Ms Porter said.

This is in terms of lost productive time, cost of retraining and rehabilitation to those involved and the ongoing cost for maintenance and supervision, she said.

Three tips Ms Porter offered were for employers to work as closely as possible on the ground, have a bullying and harassment policy in place, and have a plan to deal with bullying incidents.

“At the end of the day effective communication between management and staff about what expectations are in the workplace is really vital,” Ms Porter said.

from Daily Mercury

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