Results for tag "workplace"

Facing Up to Bullies in the Workplace

Singapore, Singapore (PRWEB) February 06, 2014

A quirky regional manager comes under fire for sending inappropriate emails to his coworkers. An obnoxious travelling salesman stops by the office and makes one too many sexist comments, raising the ire of the female employees — and also the question of workplace bullying. All incidents within an episode of “The Office” titled “Sexual Harassment”.

How do we recognise workplace bullying? When employees cry foul, are they being overly sensitive or do they have cause?

How do we draw the line between what is funny and what is offensive? CEO of Verztec Consulting Pte Ltd, a leading Global Content Consulting Company – Nicholas Goh offers a tip sheet to better deal with such situations at the workplace.

The office is a second home, so it is said. However, when people work in proximity for five days a week, interpersonal problems are likely to arise. In turn, hostility may fester.

Workplace bullying is becoming a prevalent social problem. In a 2012 online survey conducted by JobsCentral, 24% of Singaporean employees said they were victims of workplace bullying. According to Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, in 2012 there were 51,670 cases where employees sought labour counselling because they were bullied at work.

1. What Constitutes Bullying?

In May 2013, a 17-second video of a Singaporean intern being repeatedly slapped by his boss surfaced on the Internet. It was later revealed that the abuse ran deeper than just physical and verbal assault; the 29-year-old intern had been working at the software company for three years, taking home a minimum wage of $ 500 a month. Not only did he work many late nights, he was also not entitled to any benefits such as annual leave.

Where physical or verbal abuse has occurred, the bullying becomes clear-cut. Other forms of bullying, however, may be more subtle. Take sexual harassment for example. In a public opinion survey by Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), over 50% of Singaporean employees—out of 500 males and females—said they had experienced sexual harassment at some point. 30% of them said the harassment was repeated.

What is regarded as harassment can be highly subjective. To some, a gentle slap on the buttocks may just be a playful gesture, but to others it could amount to molestation.

2. When Funny Goes Overboard

Men are not always the perpetrators of sexual harassment debacles. In 2009, an email sent by a female graduate trainee at accountancy firm Deloitte quickly became a talking point. In the email, the employee asked her female colleagues to vote for their male counterparts in categories such as “Fittest Boy – Body”, ”Best-dressed Boy” and ”Boy Most Likely to Sleep His Way to the Top”.

It was all in the name of good-natured fun; the votes would be gathered for an award ceremony to be held during the office’s Christmas party. Her male colleagues even gladly nominated themselves. However, the email went viral and soon her managers got wind of this matter. The said employee resigned the next day. In an official statement, a Deloitte spokesman expressed disappointment in her behaviour and advised all to exercise discretion when sending emails.

An office prank could also escalate into a lawsuit. Such was the case of Harvey Palacio, the Intel employee who sued his employer in 2013. As part of a prank, his colleagues taped a ‘Kick Me’ sign to his back. They kicked him—a few times in the buttocks—even when he sought help to remove the sign. Because of this incident, Palacio suffered emotional distress.

3. Defining Bullying

Office jokes and pranks are pulled on a regular basis, but at what point does entertainment turn into harassment? If a supervisor is quick to berate a subordinate over a mistake, is it verbal abuse or just a management style? Is it bullying if a superior constantly inundates a junior employee with assignments? These are grey areas. It is, therefore, important to first understand the parameters of bullying.

Other than making unwanted sexual advances, AWARE defines the use of derogatory and belittling terms as well as career threats—the threat of termination or withholding of promotion—if an employee refuses to go on a date or acquiesce to sexual favours as sexual harassment. Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) defines bullying as “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons by one or more perpetrators”. Deliberate hindering or sabotaging work progress is also defined as a form of bullying.

Going by these definitions, two of the above-mentioned cases qualify as bullying, since a pattern of hostile behaviours was exhibited. In Palacio’s case, his coworkers had, in the months leading up to the prank, hidden his uniform and filled his work bag with trash. Palacio also believes that he was a target because of his Filipino descent.

The WBI also states that perpetrators are compelled by a need to control their targets. A colleague of the Singaporean intern recounted to Yahoo! several incidences where his boss repeatedly struck the latter. The reason for this abuse: the victim had an inferiority complex and the boss felt the need to “nurture him”.

4. Targets — Taking Action

Bullying engenders stress-related symptoms and emotional pain. The WBI found in a 2013 empirical research study titled “Offsetting the Pain from Workplace Bullying” that 32.3% of bullied targets engaged in self-destructive behaviours. Such behaviours included overeating, turning to alcohol, prescribed medications and recreational drugs as well as gambling. 33.4% of bullied targets withdrew social contact.

Onlookers may be baffled as to why victims would continue working in a toxic environment. Quitting may seem like the wisest choice, but the loss of income is a worrying factor. In fact, the WBI found in an instant poll involving 241 bullied individuals that 53% of them suffered economic setbacks after leaving their jobs. 26% of them never found a job replacement.

So what actions can you take, if you are a victim of bullying and you decide to stick it out at your workplace? What if the perpetuator is your direct supervisor or the boss of the company —what can you do?

5. Document the Bullying

In the Harvard Business Review article “Is Your Boss a Bully? Stop Being the Target” (19 November 2009), the authors advise that the victim should determine if there is a pattern of abuse. To do this, facts and specific behaviours should be documented. When did the incidents happen and what triggered the episodes? What were the words used? Documenting the incidents helps lend credence to your testimonies.

Another thing you should take note of is the witnesses who were present during the incident. Are they likely to corroborate your account or would they take the perpetuator’s side?

6. Set Boundaries

Many victims choose to suffer in silence – that is why bullies can freely take advantage. Forbes discusses the importance of setting limits in the article “How to Deal with a Bullying Boss” (20 September 2013). Learn to say “no” to a supervisor who throws his weight around and asks you to work unreasonable hours. This extends to coworkers as well – when a remark borders more on offensive than funny, sound off. State your reasons and get them to understand why it is not okay to make such comments.    

7. Talk to the Instigator Behind Closed Doors

Confronting a bully in the heat of the moment may prove ineffective. In The Straits Times article “Dealing with Workplace Bullying” (17 September 2012), Head of Southeast Asia Operations at Reed Specialist Recruitment Deepali Chaturvedi advises initiating a sit-down discussion with the bully. Talk about how the specific incidents made you feel threatened. If all else fails, consider taking the matter up with a senior HR representative.

8. The Last Resort

Unfortunately, grievances in the workplace are not always addressed. In the research study “Aftermath of Requesting Help from Human Resources” by WBI, 30.9% of the respondents said that their HR departments did nothing after the complaints were filed. The reluctance to punish could be due to the fact that the bullies are either key appointment holders or performers highly valued by the company.

If the bullying persists, you should consider submitting a complaint to the relevant government authorities. If the abuse turns physical or if you fear for your safety, make a police report. If you are fired after submitting a complaint against a higher-up, you can seek recourse by discussing your legal options with a lawyer.    

9. Companies — Respond Wisely

Workplace bullying will lead to a loss of productivity. If the resident bully is left to his own devices, eventually other employees will leave the company, resulting in a high turnover. The company will incur additional costs for recruitment and retraining. Abusive employers can also become embroiled in hefty lawsuits should dissatisfied employees decide to seek damages. Hence, any complaints about hostile behaviours should be taken seriously.

When coming to a resolution, HR personnel as well as management should avoid taking sides. Instead, rely on testimonies and facts to effectively resolve a conflict.

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What is Workplace Bullying? A Complete NoBullying Guide Released Today

London, UK (PRWEB) February 27, 2014

It’s not only school children who get bullied. People of all ages find bullies in all walks of life, including the workplace. Being bullied at a job by co-workers is not normal. NoBullying is releasing today the complete guide to what is workplace bullying.

The article lists the possible signs of workplace bullying and what defines a bullying boss. It also helps the reader combat the workplace bullying without fear of losing his/her job.

The article encourages the victim of workplace bullying to make careful records of all bullying related incidents and guides the reader to use the laws to his/her best benefits. It also guides the reader to confront the bullying superiors correctly.

Macartan Mulligan, Co-Founder of, said “We released this guide as we have found that parents and educators have a hard time getting the full picture on what is workplace bullying. This guide walks our reader through the sad epidemic of workplace bullying and educates them on how to combat it properly.”

He added that parents and teachers should make a point to educate the younger generations about the sad outcome of bullying online and off line. According to Mulligan, it is quite imperative to press for more firm laws condemning all acts of bullying and harassment.

He also added that anyone suffering from bullying in any form or way can always reach out to the team of NoBullying and they will be given advice on how to stand up to bullying or protect themselves online. features many pages dedicated to parents, teens, teachers, health professionals as well as posts related to cyber safety and the latest news about law making concerning curbing Bullying worldwide as well as inspirational Bullying Poems and Bullying Quotes.

The website makes a habit of updating its bullying statistics and cyberbullying statistics regularly because it is essential to understand how widespread the bullying epidemic is.

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Scenario Learning Expands into Workplace Safety with the Launch of SafePersonnel

Cincinnati, Ohio (PRWEB) March 05, 2014

Over the past decade, Scenario Learning has helped thousands of school districts, colleges and insurance partners reduce losses while increasing safety with the SafeSchools and SafeColleges product lines. Now, through the launch of the SafePersonnel suite, the leading developer of safety and compliance solutions is helping non-academic organizations create safer workplaces.

U.S. workplace statistics reveal that nearly 2 million workers are victims of workplace violence each year, one in four women reports workplace harassment and up to one-third of employees experience workplace bullying.

Providing a safe and hazard-free workplace is not just an employer’s responsibility, it is often the law. Workplace safety encompasses a variety of topics, including environmental hazards such as asbestos awareness or hazard communications; illegal employment practices such as discrimination or sexual harassment; and human resource concerns such as workplace bullying and violence prevention. Employers who don’t protect workers may incur OSHA fines, workers’ comp claims or costly lawsuits – all of which are detrimental to any organization.

The SafePersonnel suite can help employers provide safer workplaces and has been customized for municipalities, non-profits, businesses and other non-academic organizations. The suite includes solutions for staff training and compliance management, safety incident reporting and tracking, and Safety Data Sheets (SDS) and chemical inventory management.

”We developed the SafePersonnel product line because of the terrific success that our education customers have had with SafeSchools and SafeColleges,” said Scenario Learning CEO Brian Taylor. “Many of our customers, who have implemented the programs well, have reduced losses by more than 50 percent, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, all while increasing safety. We want to deliver these same benefits to other organizations as well.”

Long-time Scenario Learning partners, Keenan, the largest privately held insurance brokerage/consulting firm in California, and the Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) have already implemented the SafePersonnel Staff Training and Compliance Management System for their municipality clients.

The SafePersonnel Staff Training System includes a comprehensive library of expert-authored courses on workplace safety topics. The system allows managers to easily assign training, and automatically tracks training completions in real-time. Employees say they like the flexibility that online training provides, allowing them to complete training from any web-enabled device.

For more information, visit the SafePersonnel website or call Brian Leukering, SafePersonnel Program Manager at 800.434.0154.

About Scenario Learning

Scenario Learning develops award-winning safety and compliance solutions that help create safer schools and workplaces. The company’s web-based product portfolio includes solutions for staff training, bullying/incident reporting and tracking, accident tracking, and SDS management for the education and business markets. Known best for its market-leading SafeSchools suite of K-12 products, Scenario Learning partners with thousands of school districts, colleges, insurance providers and businesses around the world. For more information, visit

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