Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bullying, Sports, & Losing: A Volatile Blend

So, tomorrow is the  long-awaited, history-making NFC Championship Game to be held in Glendale, Arizona.  At this point, local and visiting fans are revved up, drinking, and partying, as they will until the game ends and, inevitably, one side loses. That's when the trouble begins. That's when the "losers" with too much to drink and bullying tendencies start venting their anger and frustration. Who are the likely targets? Spouses and significant others, kids, and pets. If the Cardinals lose, it will be an especially busy night for local police.

A word of caution: If you are the target of a workplace bully who is one of the "losing" fans, avoid the bully Monday morning. He or she might still be in a foul mood.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Model for a Workplace Bullying Policy

Does your organization have a Workplace Bullying Policy? If not, it should. 

Look at the following quotes from Desert Ore Contracting's Workplace Bullying Policy. The policy is clear, to the point, and short--only one page. Why does Desert Ore have this concise and workable policy? Because it is located in western Australia, where workplace bullying is illegal, as it will be in the United States eventually.

The Company Takes a Stand
 "Desert Ore Contracting Pty. Ltd. is committed to providing a  positive working environment free from intimidation, ridicule and harassment. Desert Ore Contracting will not tolerate threatening behavior including bullying, harassment, intimidation, threats and physical violence in the workplace."

"Desert Ore Contracting considers workplace bullying unacceptable."

Defines the Problem
"Workplace bullying is unreasonable behavior that generally is persistent, and that demeans, intimidates and humiliates employees, either as individuals or as a group."

Spells Out Consequences for Organization
"Workplace bullying may cause the loss of trained and talented employees, reduce productivity and morale, and create legal risk."

States Their Premise
"Desert Ore Contracting believes that all employees should be able to work in an environment free of bullying. Managers and supervisors must ensure employees are not bullied."

Clarifies Action Plan  
"Desert Ore Contracting has issue resolution and investigation procedures  to deal with workplace bullying. Any reports of workplace bullying will be treated seriously and investigated promptly, confidentially and impartially."

"Desert Ore Contracting encourages all employees to report workplace bullying. Managers and supervisors must ensure that employees or witnesses who make complaints are not victimized."

States Consequences for Bullies
"Disciplinary action wilL be taken against anyone where a complaint of bullying is found. Disciplinary action may involve a formal warning, counseling, or dismissal."

Desert Ore's Workplace Bullying Policy could be a model for organizations in the United States. Knowing the cost and consequences of workplace bullying and that it will become a legal issue, why not set up a policy now as Desert Ore and many European organizations have had to do?