Publication Date: May 14, 2014, 2:50 p.m.
Employers who swear or bully without reason, bosses who address the “new recruits” in a demeaning manner and hostile supervisors who are constantly shouting… are characteristics of workplace bullying. A boss whose inspiration is… Hitler does not act this way because he dislikes someone, but because of an inferiority complex and thus steamrolls over the psychology, and more importantly the health, of new recruits and weak employees. Indeed, such events occur even in the business next door! The following advice will help you deal with workplace bullying… because every employee has rights!
We must realize that bullying… exists in our workplace too!
Many employees don’t realize that they are victims of bullying, and just say: “The boss is pulling pranks.” We must sit down and think about the signs and decide whether the boss is constantly being judgmental or whether he considers every mistake made in the office … our mistake. Other signs are: useless “orders”, constant humiliation in front of others and false accusations towards us. If we are to react positively to the above… we must stand our ground and not allow bullying to take over our lives!
We must find proof and witnesses in the office
The minute we become aware of such behavior, we must look for proof. We must keep a record of every incident along with the time, date and names of those present. We must find out whether the witnesses-colleagues will back us up, even if we haven’t recorded the incident (with the agreement of the director of the company). It would be a good idea to visit a doctor in order to get a “doctor’s note” on which the cause of our ill health should be mentioned, as well as who is responsible for it.
We must face up to our boss… in a “clever” manner!
Initially, we should discuss the incident with our friends, who might have experienced a similar situation or sign up for self-defense lessons to improve our self-confidence. Then, it would be a good idea to ask the opinion of an anti-bullying specialist. We should keep copies of letters or emails from our boss since they constitute evidence and we should inform our superiors about the situation at the office. We must always be consistent in the face of verbal attacks, remain calm and say what we believe, without shouting or threatening. In any case, we must never cry because we will appear weak!
We must act within the law… and according to our lawyer’s advice!
The first step we must take is to check whether the company has a policy as far as prevention or counteracting bullying is concerned. If it does, then we must report the incident, bearing in mind that according to law, we can’t be fired because of a bullying report. If our employer “shuts” the door on us, then we must report the incident to an official state agency or union. Alternatively, we have the option of contacting 15512 the hotline of SEPE (Ministry of Labor inspectors). For more information as far as the legal aspect of bullying is concerned, we can contact the legal department of G.S.E.E. (General Confederation of Workers of Greece) on 210-82.02.100.
We hand in our notice, as a last resort
As a last resort, we can hand in our notice and try and prove the intolerable work conditions in court. This way, all incidents of “abuse” will be investigated and we might be compensated. A typical example is the one in Scotland, in 1996, when a social worker who had been forced to resign in a very bad psychological state, received £66,000 after proving that she had been abused by her supervisor.
Writer: Liana Georgoulopoulou