The numbers are alarming: Every third person is bullied at their workplace – women more frequently than men. The consequences are severe: The victims suffer from depression and sometimes even think about committing suicide. But the offenders often don't even see their behaviour as a serious matter – for them it's just fun, without any real motive.
We have collected several links and downloads which help victims as well as employers to handle bullying better and prevent it in their company in the first place. For example, you will find studies about bullying, brochures and practical guidelines about what to do if you are being bullied.
Online Article: Every Third Adult is Bullied
As a study shows, every third adult is bullied, women much more frequently than men. The victims suffer from depression and often even think about committing suicide. Referring to a study of the "Bündnis gegen Cybermobbing" (Alliance against Cyberbullying), the journal FOCUS reports that bullying at the workplace or on the internet is not a rarity any more. For the victims, the causes lie in rigid hierarchies or envy. The offenders however don't see a serious problem at all and claim it to be only fun with no malintent. Find more information in this FOCUS online article:
Online Article: Workplace Bullying – The Psychological Trap
When you are being bullied, you should not passively accept the role of the victim. Do something about it quickly, because ignoring the case will only make things worse, since the bullies will take your passiveness as an affirmation of their behaviour. Go on the offensive and confront the bully. If that doesn't work, speak to non-involved colleagues, friends, relatives, self-help groups or seek psychological counselling. The next step is to file a formal complaint with your employer or your work council. Some acts of bullying are even criminal acts against which you can press charges, even with claims for compensation. Knowing this should give you more confidence – sometimes the mere threat of a legal charge can end the bullying quickly.
Online Article: Definition – What is Workplace Bullying?
According to the definition of the German Federal Labour Court, bullying is the systematic harassment and discrimination by other employees or by superiors. But if and when a real case of mobbing actually occurs, depends on the evaluation of the individual case. There must be clear actions, which exceed common social behavioural patterns, and that behaviour must be consciously target-oriented to impair the rights of the victims. Due to his duty of care, the employer has to protect the health of his employees and must stop the bullying when he is made aware of such cases. But victims also have to defend themselves – by verbally confronting the situation, making a complaint or even taking legal action. Find more info on the website of the "Institute for Workers' Council Research" in the menu "Hilfe für Betroffene" ("Help for Victims").
Workplace Bullying – Stop Bullying now!
Getting bullied makes you ill and costs companies billions of Euros. But what can be done against bullying and acute crises at the workplace? How should you behave? The guidebook "Help against Workplace Bullying" by the "New Quality of Work" initiative offers plenty of helpful information and practical courses of action: How can you break the vicious circle of bullying? Which rights do you have, and which duties does your employer have? The guidebook not only gives lots of information and approved help services, but also shows their practical applicability.
Online Wiki: Examples of Bullying
The "Wiki for Workers Council Education" has dedicated a whole section to the issue of bullying. Here you will also find examples of bullying cases in which typical scenarios are described – for example: "Did I do anything wrong?", "Simply pushed off", "What do you want here?" and "Misfits are not welcome". The examples also show possible solutions, for example the relocation to another division, mediation by the workers' council or psychological counselling. The website is run by the "Verband Österreichischer Gewerkschaftlicher Bildung" (Association of Austrian Workers' Council Education).
Download Press Release: Decision – No Compensation for Workplace Bullying
Workplace bullying and its health effects are neither acknowledged as an occupational illness nor as an occupational injury by the statutory accident insurance. This was decided by the third Senate of the Hessian Higher Social Court in December 2012. A woman from the Fulda district suffered from mental health disorders for which she blamed workplace bullying. She filed for compensation with her accident insurance. The "Accident Insurance of Hessia" declined her request, stating that this was not an occupational illness. Both the courts of first and second instance decided in the insurance's favour, and stated that mental impairment caused by bullying wasn’t acknowledged as an occupational disease. See more info in the Hessian Social Court press release about the verdict:
Download: Anti-Bullying Training for Mentally Handicapped Employees
The "Zentrum für Empirische Pädagogische Forschung" (Centre for Empirical Pedagogical Research) of the University of Koblenz-Landau has developed a training program which prepares mentally handicapped people for dealing with bullying at the workplace. The project named "Let me be ME!" was supported by the EU. As a pilot study, the training session was first put into practice with employees in supported jobs and in workshops for mentally handicapped people in Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. The practical test was evaluated by the participants, and an international expert group. The result was very positive. The papers can be downloaded from the project homepage "www.letmebeme.eu" in German, English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Download Study: Bullying is a Group Phenomenon
According to a study by the Free University of Berlin, bullying is a group phenomenon. As Jens Eisermann and Elisabetta De Costanzo from the Department of Economical and Social Psychology proved, the perception of bullying is not solely based on personal estimation; it objectively occurs more frequently in the concerned departments. Essential to the origin of bullying is the management style of the superiors. Bullying rarely occurs in departments where the superiors are open to discussions and where employees have a say in matters that concern them directly. Unexpectedly high was the rate of depression among the victims. Although it has yet to be clarified whether there is a direct connection between bulling and depression, they recommend checking for depression in bullying victims. The research report can be downloaded from the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) website.