Reporting abuse now less likely

It may have been second nature for IT workers to report psychological harassment incidents in the past, but that might be changing, according to one Ottawa-based worker.

Steve Darling, a telecommunications employee in the Ottawa area, said that five years ago, IT professionals would have been more likely to report bullying because they tended to have a higher level of education than people in the service industries, such as waiters and cashiers.

“Because of their education, they would probably be more aware of their rights,” Darling said. Another reason was that jobs were relatively easy to come by. “IT workers were in high demand (a few years ago) and if there was a problem, they could report it, leave and find new work.”

However, the IT industry has been hit hard in the last couple of years, and jobs are now more difficult to find — and that means you may have to put up with that bully longer, or indefinitely, Darling said.

“Reporting a problem and being put on the defensive by a devious bully will mean that it is you who will be out in the uncertain environment of today’s job market — or you will be in a situation where the bully knows that you cannot leave,” which will leave the worker defenseless against the bully’s attacks.

Bullying prevention

– Identify bullying in your staff handbook as unacceptable behaviour.

– Establish proper systems for investigating, recording and dealing with conflict.

– Investigate complaints quickly, maintain discretion and confidentiality and protect the rights of all individuals involved.

– Understand fully any incidence of bullying and take the problem seriously at all levels.

Source: Canada Safety Council

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