Corporate/institutional bullying occurs when bullying is entrenched in an organization and becomes accepted as part of the workplace culture. Corporate/institutional bullying can manifest itself in different ways:
- Placing unreasonable expectations on employees, where failure to meet those expectations means making life unpleasant (or dismissing) anyone who objects.
- Dismissing employees suffering from stress as “weak” while completely ignoring or denying potential work-related causes of the stress. And/or
- Encouraging employees to fabricate complaints about colleagues with promises of promotion or threats of discipline.
Signs of corporate and institutional bullying include:
- Failure to meet organizational goals.
- Increased frequencies of grievances, resignations, and requests for transfers.
- Increased absence due to sickness. And
- Increased disciplinary actions.
If you are aware of bullying in the workplace and do not take action, then you are accepting a share of the responsibility for any future abuses. This means that witnesses of bullying behavior should be encouraged to report any such incidences. Individuals are less likely to engage in antisocial behavior when it is understood that the organization does not tolerate such behavior and that the perpetrator is likely to be punished.
Washington State Department of Labor & Industries
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell
And in the UK, based on government's lax response to a petition banning SOSR (Some Other Substantial Reason) basis for dismissal, staff who report being bullied or that others are being bullied face dismissal with no recourse, as it is perfectly legal to sack someone if their reporting of bullying 'causes' a breakdown in working relationships.
Here is the petition and their rather lame, but not unexpected response:-
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Protect the rights of all workers in Britain by supporting the passing of legislation outlawing the dismissal of employees on the grounds of “some other substantial reason” (SOSR) in the absence of gross misconduct.”
Details of Petition:
“The EAT decision in Perkin v St. Georges NHS Trust, strengthens the right of employers to dismiss workers on the grounds of “Some Other Substantial Reason” (SOSR). This decision encourages employers to violate the basic British principles of fairness embodied in British employment and human rights law by discriminating freely, and by intimidating potential “whistleblowers” into silence, whilst citing the competent employee’s “difficult” personality. Employers have been able to claim that a “breakdown in working relationships, “caused by” the employee renders a dismissal substantially fair, even where the dismissal has been ruled by a court to have been procedurally unfair (e.g. where the employer is a public body and has violated the employee’s rights under Human Rights Act of 1998). We therefore call for legislation that would remove the vague and easily abused “SOSR” basis for dismissal while retaining the right to dismiss an employee on the grounds of gross misconduct.”
The Government’s response:
Under employment law, dismissal must be for a valid reason and fairly carried out - the five potentially valid reasons are; capability, conduct, redundancy, retirement, that continued employment would breach a statutory requirement. In addition, the law allows for ‘some other substantial reason’, where an employer has a good reason for dismissing an employee which is not one of these five. The legislation has been in force for some thirty years and there is extensive case law to guide the tribunals on what constitutes ‘some other substantial reason’. The Government does not believe that SOSR permits employers to act unfairly.
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