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Not enough compliance work in your office? Meet the Greens’ bullying inspectors!

By johnboy - 7 November 2011 12

Having driven out Canberra’s light plastic bags (now replaced by heavier bags) the Greens have now turned their attention to another aspect of your life, workplace bullying:

ACT Greens Industrial Relations spokesperson, Amanda Bresnan MLA, has proposed new laws to improve the investigation of workplace bullying in the ACT, by creating positions for inspectors with specialised training in psychosocial issues.

“Evidence from WorkSafe, community organisations and the general public shows that workplace bullying is a serious problem, that it is underreported, and we believe it requires extra efforts to address the problem,” said Ms Bresnan.

“WorkSafe ACT does a very good job dealing with traditional workplace hazards, and the current Commissioner has put an added emphasis on workplace bullying.

“However, due to the complex nature of bullying complaints, they can be difficult to investigate. Of the current 24 Worksafe inspectors, none has specialised training in workplace bullying and other psychosocial issues.

“The ACT Greens’ legislation will require that that there are WorkSafe inspectors with specialised training in psychosocial issues such as workplace bullying, stress, and harassment.

Anyone feel like they’re back in school yet?

And you thought you’d escaped when you turned 18!

What’s Your opinion?


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12 Responses to
Not enough compliance work in your office? Meet the Greens’ bullying inspectors!
Stevian 11:47 pm 07 Nov 11

PantsMan said :

I really think that the shear lack of real tangible work to be done in the public service just leaves people with nothing to do, getting frustrated, and then they start victimising people.

And yes, it’s rampant.

To set the record straight. A lack of work to be done, only occurs at the upper levels, the real work is done by the lower echelons

LSWCHP 9:54 pm 07 Nov 11

My wife spent 8 months working for a nutjob bully in the APS, and eventually filed a complaint after one particularly nasty incident. There was much tut-tutting, due process, natural justice, equity of outcomes etc The result was that my wife was eventually assigned to a different supervisor, with no evident sanction against the nutjob, who in this instance had behaved in an appalling manner that was witnessed by several staff in the group.

My wife has since discovered that this person was renowned in her previous department as a nutjob bully.

Based on that experience, and other stories I’ve heard, I’d say that this proposal by the Greens will be utterly ineffectual against the vast wave of crap treatment that so many people have to deal with in the APS and elsewhere.

PantsMan 8:44 pm 07 Nov 11

I really think that the shear lack of real tangible work to be done in the public service just leaves people with nothing to do, getting frustrated, and then they start victimising people.

And yes, it’s rampant.

Thumper 7:03 pm 07 Nov 11

A good and noble sentiment but sadly one that can never actually work for a number of reasons.

For one, it is almost impossible to prove bullying as witnesses generally don’t want to get involved as it has a detrimental effect on their career. Secondly, the person being bullied is generally stigmatised as a whinger and under performer. Thirdly management generally tries to look after it’s own, afterall, management promoted the person so they really don’t want to admit they made a mistake.

And lastly, well, not lastly really but I couldn’t be bothered going on about it, the person being bullied will be forced into mediarion with the bully which is exactly what that person diesn’t want. Remember, this is a power issue so mediation is never going to work.

What to do about it? Management needs to take it seriously and be not afraid to act upon any suggestions that it is happening, but, as I pointed out at point three, this is not going to happen as it is much easiee to one, let the bullied person leave, or two, simply move the bully sideways.

And in Canberra, especially the APS, it is rife.

Bud White 5:16 pm 07 Nov 11

Anti-bullying legislation has been around for over year 25 years. So the Greens aren’t proposing “hall monitors” cos they are already there. What the Greens are saying is that the “hall monitors” for bullying should have specialised training. Sounds reasonable, you don’t ask a GP to do heart surgery do you?

So what’s your beef JB?

zippyzippy 5:03 pm 07 Nov 11

There’s heaps of bullying I reckon. School bullies just turn into work bullies. Have to stamp it out.

Jivrashia 4:36 pm 07 Nov 11

peterepete said :

hall monitors

Red and yellow cards and a whistle for the inspector.

peterepete 4:15 pm 07 Nov 11

hall monitors

alaninoz 4:10 pm 07 Nov 11

I agree that something needs to be done about workplace bullying, but I don’t think the Greens approach will be useful. I think that a better approach may be something similar to that taken with sexual harassment. Whatever approach is taken it’s not going to be a quick-fix as it’s as much about changes peoples’ attitudes to what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour as it is about fixing individual problems.

Henry82 3:28 pm 07 Nov 11

I have to agree with harvyk1, unless all correspondence between the victim and the “bully” is digital, then WorkSafe can’t do much.

harvyk1 said :

Of course there are always three sides to any story, mine, theirs and the truth.

+1

EvanJames 3:24 pm 07 Nov 11

Bullying in the workplace is so rife, something like this will at least put it out there a bit, make employers think about it a bit more, maybe do more. Some industries are worse than others, but the amount of it, and lack of serious action against it, needs to be addressed.

harvyk1 2:48 pm 07 Nov 11

I know workplace bullying exists, but what can WorkSafe inspectors actually do about it? Schools can’t seem to do anything about school yard bullies and kids are supposedly under the watchful eye of a teacher at all times during the day. What hope does a WorkSafe inspector who waltzs into a workplace once every couple of months have of actually finding a bully?

Of course there are always three sides to any story, mine, theirs and the truth. Of course there is also the problem of what to actually do to a bully when one is found. Unless the person has actually broken any workplace laws I can’t see what a WorkSafe inspector can do.

Of course there is always the option of anyone caught bullying another employee has to write out “I will not bully” 100 times on the whiteboard at lunch time…

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