A significant number of people have been bullied. You may be one of those statistics and not realize it since bullying can sometimes cover itself in the form of accepting teasing or gossip. Loosely defined, bullying is repetitive, harmful acts to show power over another. These acts aren’t always physical, but can be physical aggression such as pushing, shoving, or tripping. The physical bullying is obvious to you and those around you. Learn about Bullying Statistics In New Zealand .
Other bullying acts are psychological or emotional and are not as obvious. This type of bullying presents itself via texts, e-mails, social media postings or message boards. In the workplace, verbal threats are a form of bullying from co-worker to co-worker or from superior to co-workers. Also, social exclusions and “cliques” are types of bullying as the bully convinces others to avoid your company. This can be for large social events such as promotions, or for small office meetings that no one told you about.
If your child is of working age, he may be experiencing this type of workplace bullying too. Before he retaliates, or thinks that this is what the next 60 years are to be like, you must intervene. It is important to teach your child what is acceptable behavior. If you allow bullying to happen to yourself or your child, he will not see the good that comes from being passionate about a job. You may have to consider, or suggest to your child that a change in careers is needed eliminate bullying.
When you think of bullying, you may immediately picture a school yard or school cafeteria as children are often targets of a bully. What you may not picture is the school teacher who is bullied by her co-workers or principal. The New Zealand Herald reports of a physical education teacher, Myke van Iersel, who suffered a breakdown after repeated bullying from her principal. Van Iersel says that other teachers accepted the abusive principal’s management style, but she lived in fear of the next “note” or e-mail questioning her character.
The principal’s bullying of van Iersel ranged from questioning Myke’s attitude toward physical activity to a lawsuit regarding, supposed, questionable comments van Iersel made to a co-worker about the principal. Van Iersel felt that every word and move she made was under attack by the principal. The repeated attacks fall under the bullying category since they were meant to show superiority and power.
Workplace Bullying Statistics New Zealand
These situations occur in many different work environments and you or your children can become a victim at any time. From a boss who sends repeated text messages to manipulate an employee to a co-worker who spends most of the work day gossiping and spreading lies through instant messages.
WAVE, Workplaces Against Violence in Employment, is an organization dedicated to reducing workplace bullying. The statistics on bullying, according to Hadyn Olsen the manager of WAVE, suggest that one out of every four employees are the victims of bullying. Olsen says WAVE receives approximately 15 weekly calls to their anti-bullying hotline. Which is no surprise, since Olsen reports working with over 400 workplace bullies in the early 2,000’s. Van Iersel is not alone as the Post Primary Teachers Association reports that 8 percent of teachers have experienced bullying from superiors.
The New Zealand bullying statistics are not confined to the school systems. The Banking Workers Union surveyed its employees and found that 40 percent of bank employees experienced workplace bullying. Statistics New Zealand supplies information on workplace bullying based on age. Bullying occurs at any age, but 12 percent of those ages 35 to 54 claimed workplace bullying. Only 10 percent of those over the age of 55 said they’d been bullied and approximately nine percent of workers ages 15 to 34 said they were the victims of workplace bullying.
These numbers may be low, but workplace bullying should not occur. The bullying statistics 2013 should show numbers going down and now up as our society evolves. Unfortunately, technology also evolves which increases the presence of cyberbullies.
Sixty percent of New Zealand schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. This protects children, but it does not apply to employees. Unfortunately, many workers who are victims of bullying have been unsuccessful in their attempts at retribution. Van Iesel filed a complaint with Occupational Safety and Health, OSH. However, OSH does not have a clear definition of what bullying is and looks at the signs and symptoms which can also be the result of work-related stress.
Those who have are the victims of bullying, have similar physical and emotional responses. These include, but are not limited to:
- Nausea or vomiting before or during work
- Severe sweating
- The appearance of autoimmune disorders
- Shaking or trembling
- Frequently missing work
- Feelings of depression, sadness or anger
- Increased blood pressure
- Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Unhealthy thoughts focused on work
- A drop in work performance
- Increased anxiety or stress-related behavior such as rocking, twitching or shifting from foot to foot
- Avoiding or excessing eating
- A decline in health
- Lack of confidence
- Start using or an increase use of mood-altering substances such as drugs or alcohol
What is a Bully?
Corporations are partly to blame for hiring these workplace “snakes” and “sharks”. Companies hire tough, go-getters to get the job done, but do not examine how these bosses treat their employees. It also seems that the stronger the employee, the greater the chances of workplace bullying. It’s as if managers want to maintain power and authority and are threatened by anyone who shows strength of character.
Management techniques that can be considered bullying are things such as:
- Looking at employee with disdain or anger
- Not looking at employee at all
- Excluding employees from projects, lunches or social engagements
- Avoiding employees in the hallways, workrooms or office
- Withholding acknowledgement of an employee’s success
- Overseeing every, little detail of an employee’s progress
- Putting down the employee in front of co-workers or customers
- Undermining the employee’s authority in front of co-workers, customers or patients
- Questioning the employee’s motives or creativeness
- Banding others together in an attempt to fire or force an employee to leave
Bullying is not limited to management. Co-workers can also be bullies and show their behavior by:
- Yelling or raising her voice at you in attempt to make you feel inferior.
- Spreading rumors about you through text, e-mails or chats.
- Taking credit for a project that you completed.
- Accusing you of poor work performance.
- Rolling their eyes at you.
- Acting passive-aggressive by being nice to your face, but gossiping about you to others.
- Throwing you under the bus for her mistake.
- Disrespecting you in front of your boss or co-workers.
Cyberbullying can take many forms. You are the victim of cyberbullying if you have experienced any of the following:
- You have received a threatening text, e-mail, phone call or instant message.
- Your boss or coworker has spread rumors about you through texts, office instant messages, e-mails or on social media.
- Your co-worker e-mailed your boss about your performance and asks what should be done
- Your private or personal information was posted without your permission on a social media site.
- You are fearful of reading text messages.
- Work posted an unflattering photo or video of you.
- You avoid opening work-related e-mails, or sweat when you do.
- You are excluded from a social media groups that are connected to work.
- A co-worker impersonated you online, or the phone or through text message.
- You are excluded from cliques due to rumors spread by texts or e-mails.
- A co-worker forwarded personal messages or repeated complaints you texted in confidence.
- Your boss sends repeated text messages after work hours.
- Your e-mail inbox overflows with micro-management directions from your boss.
Workplace bullying does not end when you shut down your office computer, drive home and settle in for the night. The anxiousness and stress remain with you as you toss and turn in fear over returning to work the next day.
Your boss may contact you at home through texts, e-mails or social media channels to the point that you want to avoid electronics. This removes you from contact with helpful friends and family and is just another way you are being manipulated.
If you do file a complaint, your employee may turn the situation around and say that you are accusing them of bullying to cover up for your lack of performance. The bully continues to bully. Even though your self-confidence is low, it is time to stand up for yourself. If your child is suffering from workplace bullying, you must be their advocate and get legal help.
Follow the chain of command at work and report the bullying to your superiors. Hopefully, an office policy is in place to deal with the behavior and most corporations will require the bully to take a class. If that does not change the behavior, many bullies will be fired.
Speak with your superiors regarding the office policy on bullying to determine if it is acceptable to you. You decide whether it is productive to follow the policy or if it best to hire outside legal help. If it is your manager or supervisor who is the bully, you may not have a choice but to find your own support system outside of the workplace.
The management techniques that resemble bullying need to be changed. If you or your child is the victim of workplace bullying:
- Copy all communications- texts, notes, e-mails, chats or messages.
- Although you cannot avoid responding, limit you responses and be professional in your communications
- If the situation is life-threatening, call the police immediately.
- Present your evidence to the local law enforcement.
- Talk to a lawyer about your options for personal protection orders.
- Consider counseling for yourself or your child.
- Don’t encourage your child to fight bullying with bullying.
- Avoid talking to co-workers about the situation. Especially if you’ve already quit.
- Contact the web-site administrators to remove any unwelcome postings, videos, images or tags.
- Report the bullying to the web-site.
- Block your employer or co-workers from your phone, e-mail, social media if you’ve left the workplace.
The Worksafe New Zealand organization recommends several solutions when you are confronted with a bully. The first is a low-key solution in which you:
- Examine the code of conduct to see if a violation has occurred
- Confront the bully directly
If the situation does not stop, seek expert advice from:
- The Citizens Advice Bureau
- A Union Representative
- A lawyer
- A health and safety representative
If the situation still does not stop:
- Speak to your manager
- Inform your Human Resource director of the bullying
If the situation continues:
- File a complaint listening the behaviors of the bully
- Look into workplace mediation
If still unresolved:
- File a personal grievance
- Speak with an Employment Relations Authority
- Consult a health and safety inspector specifically one from the Worksafe New Zealand organization