Workplace Bullying Procedures to be Reviewed by UK’s Met Police Over Claims of Abusive Conduct at Work

A report made by the Wharf told of the UK’s Metropolitan Police’s move to overhaul its workplace bullying procedures.  This directive was made after a recent case involving a female police officer being subject of repeated instances of a supervisor’s abusive conduct at work was brought to light.  The female police officer was subjected to workplace bullying, harassment and discrimination.

The Met Police was directed to revisit its policies covering bullying, discrimination and other abusive behaviors at work.  Apart from policy review, the police force was also advised to provide additional resources to handle investigations and addressing complaints, as well as implementation of workplace bullying prevention trainings.

However, while all these recommendations will help to provide internal policies to protect employees from being bullied at work or attacks from an abusive boss, what’s also critical is involvement of the organization’s top leaders.  Something, which Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt, stated the Met’s management board is fully committed to do.  Hewitt stated, “There is complete commitment from the Met’s management board to do this properly and devote the necessary resources to it.”

This would definitely be good news for the many members of the Metropolitan Police who may be suffering from workplace bullying.

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Workplace Bullying: What employers need to know about the abusive conduct

There are instances where an employee will experience abusive conduct from a boss or a co-worker at work.  In some cases, these situations are not reported to the human resources department or to management.  However, there are occurrences in which the bullied employee will relay the incident to a supervisor or manager.

In such situations, do employers know how to address claims of workplace bullying?  Some companies have adopted policies which covers bullying and harassment.  Unfortunately, there isn’t a private cause of action for workplace bullying, as well as laws that explicitly cover the abusive conduct unless it falls under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  And for a claims of being bullied at work to be valid under federal law, it has to fall under discrimination or being subject to a hostile work environment.

Currently, there are only three states which has a law covering workplace bullying.  These are Utah, Tennessee and California. But apart from local legislation, the employers or companies themselves should develop a program that will help prevent bullying in the workplace.   A pro-active and informative approach to avoiding workplace bullying should also be considered.


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Abusive Conduct at Play in the Workplace: You’re Being Bullied at Work and Yet You Don’t Know

It is said that half the population are being bullied at work by an abusive boss or co-worker, and most are unaware of it until you read this post. According to Clive R. Boddy, workplace bullying can be a major barrier to the efficiency and productivity of an organization and may impact the economy in general.

From the many definitions of bullying, the 2015 definition was adopted by organizations and by the amended laws as it appears to be unambiguous and categorical. Furthermore, constituting workplace bullying does not care for one’s intent or reason. One may be considered exhibiting an abusive conduct at work without him knowing, as organizations and the courts would now focus on the effects and impact of workplace bullying rather than its motives or intention.

Bullying may be categorized into five: threat to professional status, threat to personal standing, overwork, isolation, and destabilization. Moreover, while bullying constitutes repeated unethical and unfavorable treatment of one person by another before, it is unnecessary to be repeated nowadays. The gravity of the act itself may now constitute bullying at work.

For instance, people may be bullied anywhere, as adult bullying is persistent nowadays. It can be done in long term jobs, short term jobs, in the armed forces, religious organizations, media, in hospitals, at schools, convalescent homes, care homes, in public, and even at home.

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The Importance of Abusive Conduct Training in This Age of Social Media

Countless studies have defined abusive conduct and have enumerated its negative impacts to the individual, organization and the society as a whole. A new California law, on the other hand, attempts to treat the problem by requiring abusive conduct training as part of the anti-sexual harassment law. However, how far would these studies and legislations go as to protect the workers and employees from abusive conduct?

Further studies reveal that promoting and maintaining ethical values in an organization may encourage increased employee loyalty, greater trust and respect among employees, increased productivity, better quality of production, and lesser costs of turnovers, stress, compensation claims, and lawsuits.

And in this age of social media, abusive behaviors inside the office may affect matters outside the organization as these conducts show up in social media and may extensively lead to negative effects. While social media is utilized for positive and negative reviews for products and services of some institutions, whether public or private, by ordinary netizens. It offers the perfect ground to disseminate positive and negative feedbacks from the customer and clientele.

In turn, employees of an organization could also act like those ordinary netizens who passionately reviews the products and services of an institution. These employees could in fact be effective channels to publish feedbacks and reviews of an organization’s overall quality. As a matter of fact, non-abusive workplace conditions produce engaged and loyal employees, and such is an advantage of employers in building a good reputation of the organization.

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Know the Abusive Behaviors of a Serial Bully

In almost every workplace, there is that one person responsible for bullying, and for others, bullying might be some sort of modus operandi. For this person, displaying abusive conduct towards a particular, isolated target had been habitual. And when that person withdraws or leaves, he hunts down another particular target. If such is the case, then one may be considered a serial bully.

A serial bully displays an abusive behavior most of the time, and can easily be recognized through identifiable traits. These include what is “Jekyll and Hyde” nature or having a tendency similar to that of a bipolar, being a convincing liar, causing stress, frustration and fear to others, damaging individuals’ and the organization’s health and reputation, reacting to criticism with retaliation, being immune to disciplinary action, and selects a new target if the present one leaves.

On the other hand, victims of serial bullies often times display an uncharacteristic drop in performance, suffer from stress breakdown, go on a long term sick leave, have grievance about poor treatment, take early retirements, or even being fired for reasons which are old or trivial. With these given circumstances, organizations would often times strive to establish the cause and deal with it to prevent any recurrence. Some might even consider conducting abusive conduct training for managers and employees.

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Can Abusive Conduct at Work Still be Treated by Law?

While there are many existing legislations regarding abusive conduct in the workplace, unfortunately, it does not prohibit bullying in the workplace. What the California Law does is to merely impose several requirements on certain trainings to prevent sexual harassment or abusive conduct. However, the law does not actively prohibit nor penalize abusive conduct.

In determining the potential benefits of the California law, the Legislature cited a past study regarding employees who are currently being bullied or have been bullied in the past by abusive bosses. People who have witnessed bullying were also subjects of the study. Nevertheless, the Legislature acknowledges that workplace bullying or abusive behavior in the workplace may cause absenteeism, turnover, and increase in compensation claims. The Congress believed that with such law, those negative impacts of abusive behavior could be reduced.

Though abusive conduct may not be unlawful itself, it can lead to unlawful harassment or discrimination if done to individuals who belong to legally protected classes such as gender, age, race religion, ethnicity, or disability. With the abusive conduct training requirement, the workforce is properly educated, which may lead to a respectful work environment. While it does not expressly prohibit workplace bullying, it provides mechanisms for defining unacceptable conduct at work.

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Three Warning Signs That You Have an Abusive Boss

With the present system, it has now been a widely accepted fact that one will never have a perfect boss. Even those with desirable qualities would never be 100% flawless and at some point would still portray some abusive conduct.

Choosing a boss to work for is just like choosing a mate; you have to decide what not to put up with at work. After all, one spends much time with one’s boss as much as one spends with one’s spouse. And so, one must take note of the three warning signs which gives a “no” signal, as to warn us of a potential abusive behavior that we may receive every day at work and to prepare for it.

Studies show that abusive conduct is not only prevalent in a domestic setting as it can also take place at work. Moreover, abusive behavior by bosses crosses genders and can be exhibited by, and directed at both males and females.

While there are lots of behaviors which constitute abusive conduct, there are three major indicators that you are dealing with an abusive boss. The first warning sign is the tendency to demean anyone, as it actually constitutes the definition of bullying. The next warning sign to look for is the controlling and isolating behavior, as if your boss wanted to know everything you do every single second of the day. And finally, the last sign would be signs which shows the boss’ lack of trust to you as if you feel that they think you are deceitful.

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Avoiding Your Abusive Boss: Does it Really Help?

Almost all employees have been in the stage where they experience less than admirable relationships with their bosses, especially when dealing with their abusive behavior. While it has been an accepted fact that abusive conduct in supervision leads to numerous outcomes such as decrease in job satisfaction, organizational commitment; an increase in employee turnover, burnout, and hostility in the workplace.

Many would advise and have been advised that avoiding and running away from a boss with abusive behavior at all cost. However, aside from being passive, these mechanisms prove to be less beneficial and offers little help towards individual and organizational development.

On the other hand, a recent study about feedback avoidance provides a guiding light on the consequences of such coping mechanism of employees. According to the conservation of resources theory; people, having a finite amount of resources, tends to preserve the existing resources and minimize the factors which consume such existing resources. In turn, when an employee experiences abusive conduct, they tend to put a strain on the resources which left them emotionally stressed. But diverting these resources to think of plans on how to avoid abusive bosses prompts employees to further lose and lessen their resources, which may even worsen the situation. In turn, avoiding abusive bosses may just do more harm than good.

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Engaged Indifference: The Key to Coping with Abusive Bosses?

Lots of people struggle just to find tactics to cope up with the unhealthy management and abusive conduct brought by abusive bosses. Generally, one might think that stress management techniques and abusive conduct training may be helpful, but in reality, these would not be enough. One should also consider reframing your vision regarding the situation which leads to proactive and positive actions.

One famous quote from President Eisenhower while sharing his World War II experiences is that if one is having a difficult time solving a problem, then one must “enlarge the problem”. There are several guidelines which can help one to enlarge one’s problem.

One tactic is creating an emotional buffer zone. In this mechanism, one visualizes a space between one’s emotion and how you deal with them in your tolerable behavior. Then when it comes to a time that your boss’ abusive conduct draws the line, recognize that you have a choice regarding on how to react through your conduct. Another tactic to be employed is expanding your perspective. Learn how to act indifferent and not reacting externally to certain situations and expanding your vision beyond a personal and narrow vantage point.

Lastly, one should just proceed to productive actions through engaged indifference. This is meant by remaining proactively engaged with finding a solution to a problem, yet remaining indifferent to one’s emotional reactions. This saves oneself from getting trapped to his emotions which may lead to dealing with it unproductively.

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Surviving a Boss with Abusive Conduct

Nobody deserves to be bullied or suffer from a boss with an abusive conduct. While provocative comments are unfortunately becoming the office norm, abusive behavior from managers could sometimes cross the legal lines and one should take action against it.

It must now be noted that when a boss’ abusive behavior has been affecting one’s productivity and performance, one has an obligation to oneself and one’s employer to turn the situation around. One can begin by drawing the line to your limits. Discern when the behavior that your boss is portraying is a strict management, or is already crossing the lines and turning into abusive conduct. Befriending the HR personnel would also be helpful so as to establish a good connection with them. They might help you at times when you needed them the most.

One must also be prepared as to be armed with examples and evidences. Taking notes on every abusive behavior of your boss, collecting evidences of undesirable text messages or emails, and documentation of humiliating experiences may help you in establishing and proving abusive conduct. Furthermore, you should know your rights, and if things crossed the lines and you think that your HR is as dysfunctional as your relationship with your boss, then think of taking the matter into the courts.

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