February 22, 2012

Over 50 University Staff members have sought advice about bullying

Figures obtained by FOI requests show that nearly 20 University staff members have left York in the last five years citing bullying or harassment as one of the reasons.

During the period 2007-2009, York was ranked as the second worst institution for staff members leaving because of bullying or harassment.

The statistics also state that 53 members of staff have sought advice over bullying or harassment at work.
The University has defended their record, stating: “There have been eight investigations over the past two calendar years, or four per year. We would of course prefer if an investigation was never necessary, but given that we have nearly 3,500 staff, this is not a significant number.”

The only institution to have a higher number of staff leave due to bullying or harassment at work during the period 2007-09 was the Open University, where 16 members of staff left compared to 13 at York.

FOIs were sent to 144 institutions and 118 replied with the relevant data, completing the top five were: Northampton with 11 staff members; LSE with eight; and Liverpool John Moores with seven.

Similarly, a University and College Union (UCU) national survey in 2008 asked a random sample of employees in Higher Education and found that 34 per cent of respondents claimed they had been bullied at work in the preceding six months.

The survey also reported that five per cent of respondents said they were aware of ‘now and then’ derogatory comments about them appearing on student websites, while 13 per cent said they had received derogatory, offensive or bullying e-mails from students.

The University defines harassment as including: suggestive sexual remarks, racist insults or jokes, verbal abuse or foul language, unfair allocation of work, exclusion, and unwelcome attention. It advises staff members to contact a Harassment Adviser or senior staff member amongst others.

A spokesperson for the University commented: “We actively encourage staff who are concerned about potential bullying and harassment to seek support from colleagues in HR and Equality & Diversity.

“The fact that a member of staff raises an issue does not necessarily mean that wrongdoing has taken place, and as the figures show, in most cases, the matter can be successfully dealt with informally.”

But the University suggested that comparing institutions on this issue may be difficult: “In general, the way information of this nature is collected and recorded is likely to be different from institution to institution and it is therefore doubtful that the data resulting from the FOI responses can be compared on a like-for-like basis.”

The UCU survey figures also show that 23 per cent of respondents, who had experienced bullying, made an official complaint to their institution.

Sally Hunt, General Secretary of the UCU, addressed the results of the UCU 2008 survey stating: “Bullying at work can take many forms and all of them create stress for the victim. Everybody has the right to expect to work in a safe environment free from bullying.

“Good institutions are ones that are aware of the problem and are proactively trying to tackle it. Poor ones are those who refuse to accept there may be a problem or try to place the blame elsewhere.”

The UCU survey questioned 9,700 of its members about bullying and harassment in the workplace and found that in 19 institutions at least one in 10 respondents said that they were ‘always’ or ‘often’ bullied.

From: http://www.nouse.co.uk


Anonymous said...

That could easily describe the place where I used to teach.

We had a staff association but it was completely useless when it came to such matters. Either the president was the administration's lapdog or he or she didn't care about individual members. Only once did we have a president who was willing to fight for us and she was forced out before her term was finished due to internal politics.

Towards the end of my time there, I met with the staff association about my department's administrators bullying and harassing me, something which I endured for years. The association's attitude was that if it wasn't covered by the contract, I was out of luck. Any evidence I presented about prior abuse was immediately rejected. It made me question on whose behalf the staff association was working and why I was even paying my association fees.

I quit when my financial portfolio reached a minimum value and I left under terms that I dictated.

Anonymous said...


Part time lecturers are being harrassed and bullied.


Anonymous said...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Dr-Rosenberg/318874974846412 PLEASE PUT ON YOUR FACEBOOK AND SEND TO OTHERS PLEASE. RABBI ROSENBERG

Anonymous said...

The professional services department I've worked in at University of Northampton has a habit of bringing in people on contracts, getting them to do huge amounts of work, bullying them and then sacking them when they finish projects. People get thrown to the dogs as soon as they finish big jobs, then the incompetent managers pick apart the work of that person and use them as scapegoats for their own incompetence. It happens every few months! You would think after a while people would catch on but the bullying culture of the department means that colleagues do nothing to support each other. Everyone is out for themselves. I've spent months medicated in order to cope. The managers are just ridiculous, they can't make decisions for themselves and change the rules and the goals constantly. They don't have experience in higher education either, so they don't even know some of the basics of working in HE.

HR is useless, they are only there to support the same bullying managers time and time again. I would be surprised if Northampton wasn't higher in the bully statistics by now.