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February 2002

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Advice Line celebrates six years
The UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line celebrated six years of operation at the end of January 2002. On average I have contact with around 1000 new cases every year. Advice Line statistics are at workbully/worbal.htm

Case histories
Twenty-two people have now contributed their experience to the case histories section at Bully OnLine: workbully/casehist.htm
To add yours, send me a one-page summary.

Stress rockets
Stress at work claims have increased significantly according to an annual survey by the UK's TUC. Senior Health and Safety Officer Owen Tudor said there was now a recognition that stress was just another type of industrial disease. Full story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_1796000/1796944.stm

Stress claims rejected
Four stress claims which were successful in lower courts have been rejected by the Court of Appeal. The reasoning, which seems to contravene the employer's duty of care, was that the onus was on employees to tell the employer they were suffering stress. If the employer was unable or unwilling to recognise that their system of work was unsafe, they could not be held liable if no-one had complained. More at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/health/newsid_1802000/1802510.stm

The cost of bullying
Few employers realise how much their serial bully is costing them. February sees the publication of my article The hidden cost of a bully on the balance sheet in Accounting & Business. You can read it online at http://www.accaglobal.com/publications/accountingandbusiness/315685

Dignity at Work progress
The UK Dignity at Work Bill, which is now before parliament, provides that all employees "shall have a right to dignity at work" and that the dignity clause shall be implied in all contracts of employment. The Bill prohibits harassment, bullying and any conduct which causes the employee "to be alarmed or distressed." I've updated the online copy at successunlimited/action/dignity.htm

Employers' vicarious liability extended
The scope of UK employers' vicarious liability was extended considerably in the case of Lister and others v. Hesley Hall [2001 IRLR 472; HL]. The House of Lords ruled that an employer may be vicariously liable for acts by its employees, including criminal acts, where the employer gave an opportunity for the employee to commit those acts.

Death at work
The TUC and the Campaign for Corporate Accountability (CCA) have launched a joint campaign to crack down on deaths at work: http://www.tuc.org.uk/h_and_s/tuc-4267-f0.cfm

Employment legislation update newsletter
Brethertons solicitors offer an e-mail newsletter of updates to UK employment law and various employment regulations. To subscribe, select "Personnel File" under "Free Newsletter" at the bottom right of this page: http://www.brethertons.co.uk/index.htm

SCHOOL BULLYING

Parents publish daughter's letters
14-year-old Laura Grimes committed suicide in July 2001 after planning her funeral and preparing a will. Now her parents have decided to publish her letters, one of which described her daily ordeal of physical and verbal abuse which Laura intended to be read aloud at her funeral. As with many cases, Laura was too frightened to tell anyone of the torment she was suffering (the reasons why children and young people do this are revealed in Bullycide: death at playtime, details at successunlimited/books/bullycid.htm). More at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/england/newsid_1786000/1786296.stm

UK Government takes school bullying more seriously
In a welcome move, the UK government has given schools in England new powers to exclude pupils who persistently bully. Recognising everyone's right to not have to endure bullying at school, government schools minister Estelle Morris said that bullying was "not acceptable" and that it was "not something pupils should have to put up with." Details at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_1762000/1762486.stm

Bullying rife in Chinese schools too
A report from China reveals that bullying is rife in Chinese schools:
http://www.psycport.com/showArticle.cfm?xmlFile=afp%5Fenglish%5F2002%5F01%5F26%5FANA%5F0051%2D0051%2DChina%2Deducation%2E%2E%2E%2Exml&provider=Agence%20France%2DPresse
(if this doesn't work try clicking here)

Revenge is sweet and effective, if costly
A couple in Germany who took direct action against the gang who bullied their son were later ordered to pay compensation to the bullies. Full story at http://www.ananova.com/yournews/story/sm_508204.html

MEDIA CORNER

Boss from hell?
Jeremy Lee's plans for a documentary on bullying are well advanced but there's still an opportunity to contribute to this program. So, are you being harassed by your boss? Does he/she verbally abuse and physically intimidate you? Have you and your colleagues been forced out of work by a serial bully? Do you want to get your own back and expose this unacceptable behaviour? If the answer is YES and you're in the UK, then a leading television production company would like to talk to you in confidence. Call Hazel on 020 8735 4091 or email hazelw@liontv.co.uk

Bullies and targets
I'm Jill Foster, Features Commissioning Editor at The Mirror in the UK, and I'm looking for a woman in her twenties or thirties who was either bullied at school or was a bully herself. I want to speak to both parties, the bully and her target. Hopefully a lot of water will have passed under the bridge and there will be no animosity between them now - all that's required is a frank discussion about bullying and how it affected each of them. We'd also want to ask them about how they think bullying should be tackled in schools today. Do they think it's a natural part of growing up or should teachers/parents/kids get involved? We will pay each woman 250 for appearing in the feature and we would arrange the meeting ourselves - probably in a nice restaurant over a quiet drink. A writer and photographer will accompany them throughout the meal. The feature will be in the female M section of the newspaper. Please contact me by email at j.foster@mirror.co.uk or tel 0207 293 3045.

Domestic violence
Are you experiencing domestic violence in a same sex relationship? Are you hit or controlled by your partner? Are you being abusive to your partner? Would you be prepared to share your experience as part of a BBC documentary? If so then please call Sara at the BBC on 0208 752 5108. A phone call will be in complete confidence and does not commit you to the programme.

Are you the target of a bullying boss?
Jenny Campion is a freelance journalist who's been commissioned to write a piece for a leading woman's magazine on bullying bosses. Jenny is looking for women in the UK who have been the target of a bullying boss who would be prepared to appear in a feature talking about their experience and how it affected their life. Contact Jenny at jennycampion@aol.com or telephone 0208 558 0386.

Look at me now
I'm Rachel Garnet and I'm a feature writer for Company Magazine. For our positive, upbeat "It Could Be You" section, I am looking for people who can honestly say "I was bullied but look at me now". I would love to chat to young women in the UK aged between 18 -30 who are real successes even though they were bullied either at school, college or work. As part of the feature we pay all expenses for people to come down to London for a midweek photoshoot, which includes a pampering makeover. If you fit this profile, please contact me on 020 7312 3916 or email Rachel.Garnet@natmags.co.uk

Tonight with Trevor MacDonald
UK ITV's current affairs series Tonight with Trevor McDonald is making a programme about bullying particularly amongst girls. If you would like to speak to the programme about your experiences, email lesley.gardiner@granadamedia.com

New TV series on school reunions for C4
RDF the makers of popular series 'Faking It' are making an upbeat series on school reunions. We are looking to reunite 20 classmates who haven't seen each other for years. If you were bullied at school in the UK and are ready to go back and meet your classmates including the bully please give us a call or email for more info. sharon.stansfield@rdfmedia.com 020 7908 1324.


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