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Workplace bullying news during 1997

See also
Current news
News of workplace bullying in the USA
News of child bullying and school bullying
2002 news | 2001 news | 2000 news | 1999 news | 1998 news | 1997 news
See BBC News Online and use the search facility for "bullying"

TUC Worst Bosses Campaign
During the week 1-5 December 1997 the TUC ran a campaign to expose Britain's WORST BOSSES, including bullying and harassment, being forced to work regular excessive hours, prevented from taking paid holidays,  living in fear of losing your job because you don't have a proper contract, or working in a dangerous environment where Health and Safety regulations are ignored. The Freephone hotline was busy all week, logging over 5000 calls in five days.

The most frequent issue raised was bullying (38%), well ahead of low pay (25%). For press information or a copy of the results of the campaign contact Stephanie Power tel 0171 467 1310 or pager 01426 317903 or by email or Mike Power tel 0171 467 1287 or pager 01426 845676, or see the TUC web site at http://www.tuc.org.uk/.

Top bosses accept 'people are most valuable asset'
The startling claim that "chief executives now genuinely believe people management is the key to competitiveness" is made in a new book Straight from the CEO by Price and Dauphinais (Nicholas Brealey, 18), published in March 1998. Two centuries of campaigning and education on social issues finally seem to be about to bear fruit. The revelation is likely to go down in history alongside other discoveries such as the fact that the world is round.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder developments
Tim Field has published David Kinchin's excellent revised and updated book Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: the invisible injury. Click here for book overview and  here for how to order a copy. The effects of bullying on health are described here. A detailed study of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Prolonged Duress Stress Disorder (PDSD), also the DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD, and why PTSD sufferers are often frustrated from taking legal action is on a new page.

Anti-stalking legislation passed
The criminal and civil provisions of the Protection From Harassment Act (1997) are now in force. For further information on stalking and what you can do about it send a cheque or postal order or stamps for 3 (sterling) to The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 14 East Sheen Avenue, London SW14 8AS.

Youths charged under anti-stalking law
Five teenagers from Derby have been charged under the Protection From Harassment Act after 13-year-old Kelly Yeomans took her own life from an apparent overdose because of alleged bullying.

Legal protection for transsexuals
The government is consulting on proposals to extend protection to transsexuals under the Sex Discrimination Act. This follows a decision in P v. S (1996 IRLR 347; ECJ).

Bullying case settlement
Several settlements have been reached recently, including some in six figures. Hereford and Worcester woman fire fighter Tania Clayton was awarded 200,000 plus 100,000 expenses in an out-of-court settlement after five years of bullying by male colleagues (Daily Mail, 18 March 1997). Later in the same week the Daily Mail reported another case of a 16-year-old convicted of common assault which consisted of a campaign of intimidation, threats and insults. The psychological effect was likened to that suffered by a stalker's victim. Targets of bullying will he heartened by the judgement which sets a precedent in UK law whereby common assault includes psychological as well as physical assault. 

Chinese-origin valuer David Chan was awarded a record 172K against London Borough of Hackney for racial harassment/bullying (July 1997). This case highlights the anomaly that existing UK law is discriminatory if you're white, British and the same gender as the bully. In November, former IT manager Donald D'Souza was awarded a record 358K damages in a race discrimination case against London Borough of Lambeth in a case spanning eight years.

Bullying is present behind all forms of discrimination, harassment, prejudice, abuse and violence and therefore even if there's a strong racial or sexual slant, it's all bullying. It's also worth noting that the words "bully" and "bullying" are creeping into Industrial Tribunal judgements. The Law Commission has recently recommended that people who suffer "deliberate and outrageous" breaches of their rights under discrimination legislation should be entitled to exemplary damages which are intended to punish the wrongdoer. The employer should also be vicariously liable for an employee's punitive damages.

The first personal injury High Court action for psychiatric injury resulting from bullying was settled out of court in February 1998 (see above).

MS and stress
In June 1997, former chauffeur Joseph Kennedy was awarded 300K after developing multiple sclerosis which was deemed to have been triggered by trauma following a road accident (Independent 21/6/97). Bullying is a major cause of trauma and often eclipses other recognised traumas such as bereavement.

Stress and suicide
In an out of court settlement in March 1998, North East Essex Mental Health NHS Trust agreed to pay 25,000 to the widow of Richard Pocock. The mental health nurse took his life as a result of stress caused by the impending closure of his place of work where he had been for for nearly 20 years. This case reminds us of the need for employers to recognise that downsizing, restructuring and reorganisation result in trauma and distress for all employees, especially those who are loyal and long-serving. Unfortunately, budgets and the need to preserve top jobs and salaries (and bonuses) often appear to take precedence over people.

Telephone tapping
In Halford v. UK (1997 IDS 593; ECHR), articles 8 & 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights are judged to be breached by unauthorised recording of office phone calls. The UK government has committed to adopting the ECHR in UK law by 1999 which means that a) UK citizens will have a written bill of rights for the first time, and b) actions under the ECHR can be heard in any UK court rather than having to go to Strasbourg.

IPD Code of Conduct
The new Institute of Personnel & Development code requires members to "...promote and maintain fair and reasonable standards in the treatment of people" and "exercise integrity, honesty, diligence and appropriate behaviour". If your personnel officer (most are IPD members) has failed to meet these criteria, write to the IPD for a copy which includes action to be taken in the event of a complaint: IPD, IPD House, Camp Road, London SW19 4UX, Tel 0181 971 9000.

Appeal Victory
Lyn Witheridge won her Appeal against former employers finance giant Sun Alliance. The original tribunal "misdirected itself in law" and "failed to make any relevant findings of fact". Click here to see Lyn's press release.

Andrea Adams Trust
Click here.

Shaming, Blaming and Flaming
Novell's report on the misuse of electronic mail for bullying and harassment was published on 2 June 1997. Novell's press release about the report is on the Press page. Copies of the report are available from Firefly Communications, 25/4 The Coda Centre, 189 Munster Road, London SW6 6AW, Tel 0171 381 4505, email sglazer@firefly.co.uk. The report costs 40, with proceeds to the Andrea Adams Trust.

Campaign Against Bullying At Work
CABAW meets at the House of Lords under the chairmanship of Lord Monkswell. For details, write to:

Chris Ball, MSF, MSF Centre, 33-37 Moreland Street, London EC1V 8BB

Make your voice heard!
The Labour government does not appreciate the cost and scale of bullying. If you're a UK resident, write to:
          Ian McCartney, Minister of State, DTI, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET
Keep your letter brief (2 pages max), polite, succinct, focus on the cost to industry and taxpayers, the purpose of bullying (to hide inadequacy), the waste and inefficiency, the inadequacy of legislation, and the profile of the serial bully. Encourage others to write. See the separate page on taking action.

Psychopaths
A Sunday Telegraph article* (4/5/97) and follow-up* (29/6/97) suggested that 1 in 30 (2 million) people in the UK may be an unrecognised socialised psychopath exhibiting Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). Most of the 2300+ Advice Line cases involve a serial bully with that profile. Tim's talks and seminars tell you how to identify and unmask such people.

Stress and brain damage*
Research by Dr John O'Brien of Newcastle University (reported in The Times, 1 March 1997) shows prolonged stress can damage the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked with learning and memory. I can't remember the rest...

Conferences etc on bullying and harassment
These are listed on a separate page. Click here to display.

Major TV series on bullying
At the end of August 1997, BBC TV   screened a series of eleven (yes eleven) programmes on bullying, ranging from child bullying at school, through workplace bullying, bullies in uniform, and elder abuse. Well done BBC!

Yorkshire Television's 3D are reconsidering making a programme on bullying - more details later. Also, watch Yorkshire Television's Jobfinder 26-31 January 1998. Scottish Television have recorded a programme on bullying for Scottish Women to be shown in early 1998.

Other mentions of bullying include Channel 5 Espresso (twice - well done Patti and Tony), Radio 5 After Hours, BBC Nottingham, Radio Ireland, RTE, Gerry Ryan Show, etc.

Media coverage
Media interest is phenomenal with requests every day. This is progress! Recent excellent coverage includes Zest Magazine (July/August 1997), Woman's Realm (16 September 97), Daily Express (10 July and 9 October 1997), Birmingham Evening Mail (19 August 97), Prima (September 1997), Evening Standard (6 October 97), Times Educational Supplement (24 October 1997), Independent (19 November 1997), 19 magazine (January 1998), XL magazine (January/February 1998), Family Circle (March 1998).
Margaret Coles wrote an item for the Appointments section of Sunday Times on 11 January 1998, and Stephen Overell wrote an article for the Daily Telegraph on 29 January 1998.

Tim Luxton's article on bullying appeared in the Jobs & Money section of the Guardian on Saturday 25 April 1998.

Tim Field has written articles on bullying which have been or are about to be published in: Health Visitor (May 97), New Times (24 May 1997), Nursing Standard Perspectives (24 July 1997), Welfare World (June, September, December 1997, February 1998), Tolley's Health & Safety at Work (November/December 1997). See Links page under Articles for details.

Media requests to interview survivors of bullying
See separate page: click here.

Advice Line statistics
To view the latest UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line statistics click here.

Bullying Helplines
See Helplines on the Links page

Teachers and nurses
Teachers and nurses are the two largest groups of callers to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line. Each have a page of specific advice: click teachers or nurses. Feedback and further information is welcomed.

Midlands support/campaigning group
Jackie Kennedy is thinking of forming a Midlands workplace bullying campaigning and support group. For details call Jackie on 01788 891994.

Northern Action Against Bullying At Work
Lyn Jones is setting up this group for people in the north, (eg Manchester, Lancashire, Yorkshire). For information about the next meeting, send sae to:

Lyn Jones,
25 Syke Road,
Heaton,
Bradford
BD9 4AB

Further information
Copies of the following articles are available from Tim Field (see Resources on  Links page for details)

IPD survey news release, 28/11/96, 3 pages
Dr John O'Brien's paper Stress linked to brain damage (technical!) 3 pages
Psychopathic bully behaviour, Sunday Telegraph article 4/5/97, 4 pages,
Psychopathic bullies, Sunday Telegraph follow-up article 29/6/97, 2 pages
Swedish law Victimization at Work, 8 pages
New Danger! Psycho at work poster
Dignity at Work Bill, 4 pages
Lyn Witheridge news release 12/2/97 winning Appeal Tribunal, 2 pages (see Press releases page)

Speaker available
Tim Field welcomes opportunities to write articles and give talks and seminars, also to speak at conferences, etc. In most cases of bullying it comes down to one word against another with no witnesses; his full-day seminar includes new components of bullying and harassment investigation techniques which enable you to tell who is being truthful and who is not. His talks are professional, eye-opening, and insightful.

Workplace Bullying Web Site
These pages are believed to be the world's most comprehensive web site devoted to workplace bullying. The site is the result of a partnership between Tim Field (UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line founder and author of Bully in Sight) and Steve Nicholls (Internet Consultant). Thanks are due to Steve for creating and maintaining this site throughout 1997. Feedback is welcome. Steve Nicholls can be emailed at steve-n@dircon.co.uk. Tim Field can be contacted at successunlimited/contact.htm.

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