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2011 Anti-Bullying Week

14th – 18th November is Anti-Bullying Week. It’s an annual campaign run by Anti-Bullying Alliance, a network made up of 130 different organisations. With the slogan ‘Stop and think – words can hurt’, this year’s activity will focus on tackling verbal bullying.

Whilst the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s key purpose is to stop and prevent bullying in our educational establishments, bullying isn’t always confined to the school gates. People can be victims of bullying at any stage of their lives and it can take many forms, from bullying at work or in the domestic environment through to, increasingly, on social network sites, something which is referred to as ‘cyber bullying’.

What is bullying at work?
According to the DirectGov website bullying at work is “when someone tries to intimidate another worker, often in front of colleagues. It is usually, though not always, done to someone in a less senior position. It is similar to harassment, which is where someone's behaviour is offensive. For example, making sexual comments, or abusing someone's race, religion or sexual orientation.”
How do you spot the signs of bullying at work?
Bullying can be face-to-face, in writing, over the phone or by fax or email. It can include abuse, physical or verbal violence, humiliation and undermining someone's confidence. You might be being bullied if, for example, you are:

  • Constantly picked on
  • Humiliated in front of colleagues
  • Regularly unfairly treated
  • Physically or verbally abused
  • Blamed for problems caused by others
  • Always given too much to do, so that you regularly fail in your work
  • Regularly threatened with the sack
  • Unfairly passed over for promotion or denied training opportunities
  • What should you do if you are being bullied?
  • Get advice - Speak to your manager, someone in HR or an employee representative of your union.
  • Talk to the bully - The bullying may not be deliberate and they may not realise they are doing it. Work out what to say beforehand and stay calm and polite. If you don’t feel comfortable about it, ask someone else to speak on your behalf.
  • Keep a written record or diary - Write down details of every incident and keep copies of documents.
  • Be strong - Have things to look forward to outside work, such as evening classes, seeing your friends etc, as your confidence will receive a much needed boost.
  • Making a formal complaint - If you can’t resolve it informally the next step is to follow your company’s grievance procedure.

How can Health Matters help?
If you are affected by bullying at work or in your personal life and would like to speak to someone in confidence, please call the EAP helpline today.

Online resources
PPC Online - Visit the ‘workplace conflict’ and ‘manager area’ sections:
Anti-Bullying Week 2011 - Anti-Bullying Alliance
Bullying at work - DirectGov
Cyber bullying - Advice for parents and young people


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