Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Don't Surrender your Lunch Money

CBC is focusing a lot on the issue of bullying in the workplace, in particular, the Public Service of Canada. Their latest article focuses on the issue of workplace mobbing, a tactic employed by employers to squeeze out an employee through vicious behavior. What is the most disturbing aspect of the article is the analysis and advice provided by an 'expert' in the field.

(taken from the article)
"Kenneth Westhues, who is a professor emeritus at the University of Waterloo, has studied workplace mobbing for about 20 years. "Workplace mobbing is about ganging up on a particular individual, towards eliminating that person from the workplace." Westhues notes even in an institution with many policies, rules and regulations, harassment still happens.

"Over the past few years I've gotten, I don't know, 50 to 100 inquiries from federal public servants many of them high level public servants, who say I have read your research on public mobbing and I think this has happened to me."

Westhues predicts most of the complaints are legitimate, but he doesn't think more rules or better legislation will solve the issues. In fact, he thinks managers need to use more common sense and victims need to know when to move on.

What I urge people to do is sit down with a piece of paper and write out, what are their resources, job security, tenure, how much money they have.and make a decision on the basis on realistic assessment.

"By far the most common solution, pack up and get a different job. No shame in that."

(end of quote)

That's it? That's the best you can do? Back when we were kids, the only solution to schoolyard bullying was to fork over our lunch money or transfer schools if things got really out of hand. That's basically what this 'expert' is telling us to do. He further states that harassed employees are costing the average taxpayer when they attempt to fight back against their aggressors. Which is basically blaming the victim and akin to telling kids that if they're being beaten up for their lunch money, they should just learn to go without lunch.

What kind of world do we live in when we can't even go to work as adults and be treated with fairness and respect? Is it any wonder that nobody is interested in working hard for a living and living by honest means?

There are several good reasons why we should 'waste' taxpayer money to defend these people. The 'expert' should consider these:

1- Nobody has the right to take away your job. You competed for it, you qualified for it, you work at it and you are perfectly competent. Your performance reviews are positive and you do good consistent work. You should not be bullied out of your job for being competent! Only incompetent people deserve to lose their jobs. You shouldn't be forced to leave it and take a job for less pay to escape from an aggressive boss. This is just plain wrong.

2- Nobody has the right to power trip their employees and act like this is a natural thing. We respect human rights in Canada. We uphold those values. We are committed to the idea of treating people fairly and with respect. That is our country, is it not? So how come the people who serve Canadians are allowed to be bullie and harassed in their workplace?

3- There is a real cost to the detrimental effects of bullying on people, both employees and employers. It's the mental health of the person, the morale within the office and the real cost of sick days and leave associated with not being able to step foot into the office again. Going to work should not be an ordeal. It's not alway pleasant, but it should not be an ordeal. If these things are not dealt with, the public service will experience a massive drain of perfectly qualified and intelligent people who will go elsewhere, benefits be damned.

The public will get just the kind of service it deserves if it lets these issues go.

For the full story, see: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/05/10/ottawa-harassment-mobbing.html

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