It is always worth considering leaving an abusive workplace

Governments all over the world have passed anti-bullying legislation, with various degrees of success. However, legislation will not change the abusive personality type, and it will not lower company expectation of high profits or peak performances. It is important that you acquaint yourself with the legislation of your country. Counsellors, unions, government agencies, human resource departments, mediators, and lawyers can clarify the process. Legislation on workplace abuse is too complex to deal with here, but it is often enshrined in labour laws, equality laws, health and safety laws, and disability legislation. Every country has its own legislative or quasi-legislative approaches. The barrister, John Eardly, provides useful insight into Irish legislation in his blog Bullying and Stress in the Workplace. Employers and Employees – A Guide.
If the bullying persists after using informal, formal and external procedures, consider the last resort of leaving the abusive workplace. In times of recession, it is very difficult to do this, and if the abuser is also the boss, he may write a bad reference. Yet staying in an abusive situation will exhaust and demoralise, especially in cases of institutional, corporate, or mob bullying. As with a survival plan, an exit plan should be positive rather than defeatist, e.g. looking to the prospect of leaving the abusive environment, or to training in something you like. Consider self-employment. Your choices will depend upon your family and financial circumstances. Make sure you understand all the financial and family resources that will sustain you as you search for a new job. Check eligibility for social welfare benefits.
Workplace bullies were once children, and the question arises of a connection between school and workplace bullying. I agree with David Yamada, Professor of Law and Director of the New Workplace Institute at the Suffolk University Law School in Boston, who suggests that children who experience abuse and trauma early in life may mistreat others when they are older. I believe that the abusive personality, created at an early life stage, is the principal common link between the two.
School bullying is as widespread as workplace bullying, although it is difficult to define it by universal standards. Some attitudes that are seen as jokes in Spain may be viewed as insults in the UK, which heads the list of school bullying in Europe. In a survey across Europe, 27% of first level and 10% of second level students suffer bullying. The bullying highlighted in this survey was based on skin colour, language difficulties, religion, and physical appearance. Britain heads the list in this survey because a large number of immigrants live there. There are widely varying statistics for the United States, but it appears that from 25% to 77% of US children experience bullying, either face to face, or through cyber bullying. The most high profile case was that of 15 year old Phoebe Prince, who committed suicide in January 2010. This led to the criminal prosecution of a number of teenagers, and more stringent anti-bullying legislation by the Massachusetts legislature.
Adapted from Jim O’Shea’s book Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying published by Cork University Press

Posted in abuse, workplace and school bullying