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Protecting the rights of every employee

June 6, 2013

Dear Sir,

After reading Dr Phillip Brownell’s June 4, 2013 article, as it relates to workplace bullying, I thought of the Dignity at Work Policy and Complaints Procedure for Civil Servants. Employers are well aware that workplace bullying causes stress-related health problems which, in most instances, result in absenteeism (ie sick leave), so why are those responsible for matters of discipline reluctant to effectively deal with complaints about senior managers? Productivity is decreased when victims spend time defending themselves or gathering support from others. This impacts the whole team and wastes both time and money. If each employee, senior managers included, subjected him/herself to scrutiny, complaints about employees being harassed, bullied, victimised or treated in a discriminatory manner, would be greatly reduced.

In the section about bullying, according to the profile, the workplace bully subjects targets to unjustified criticism and trivial fault finding. How many of you senior managers are guilty of this? The bully is often a superior to the person being victimised and tends to set the victim up for failure by setting unrealistic goals or deadlines; humiliating the intended victim or increasing the victim’s workload so that it is impossible for the victim to complete the tasks. Sound familiar?

Superior officers who engage in conduct which resembles bullying should be placed before a disciplinary board and reprimanded. Instead, when victims make official complaints, those matters are not dealt with effectively and the bullying continues, and the circle of victims expands. Protecting the rights of every employee is an important aspect of justice, and there is no justice when the complaints of employees are ignored or discounted. If managers are allowed to treat employees in this manner, how do they appraise the employees? Should comments about matters unrelated to the employee’s work performance be mentioned in the employee’s appraisal?

What other avenue is there for a victim who has lodged a complaint with those responsible for matters of discipline, and is dissatisfied with the outcome? Should a complaint about a superior officer’s conduct be treated as an ‘official secret’? In my view, it shouldn’t be covered up. Sometimes when certain people are promoted to higher positions, they let the power go to their head and they expose the real person, which reminds me of this quote: “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” These people lack humility and think that they are more important than others because of the position they hold. They fail to realise that greater things are accomplished when people work together and help one another, and this includes supervisors or bosses.

If there is a lack of cooperation in a workplace, it’s because the people at the top are failing to practice helpfulness, and they are getting lost in their status. Sometimes they encourage manipulation tactics to get what they want, by using their subordinates as spies. This creates a poor work environment. When people are more focused on keeping tabs on the next person, they must remember that, one day they will reap what they have sown. If they were honest with themselves, they would recognise their faults and alter their own conduct. They would also be more appreciative of people who are sincere, open, trustworthy and truthful. Unfortunately, speaking truthfully comes with consequences; at least that’s what I’ve discovered. To those who take offence to what is written above, don’t waste time trying to find out who wrote this … instead; alter your conduct and get over it.



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Published June 08, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated June 07, 2013 at 8:33 pm)

Protecting the rights of every employee

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