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Workers encouraged to take part in anti-bullying day

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The charity Ban Bullying at Work has launched a new initiative – a minute of reflection – to raise awareness among Britain’s 28.94 million workforce.

Now in its fourth year Ban Bullying at Work Day will be held on 7 November, with the minute of reflection to be held at 10am. Organisers hope a million people will take part.

“Our main aim is to encourage people to take responsibility for the management of themselves, in their roles and in relation to others” said founder of Ban Bullying at Work Lyn Witheridge.

“One in four adults has been bullied within the last five years. Bullying is the leading cause of stress-related illness and the number one employee complaint.

“We want both employers and employees to take part, reflect and recognise how their own behaviours could have a negative impact on their colleagues and working environment.”

The charity defines workplace bullying as the expression of aggression without physical violence – a form of psychological intimidation that makes its impact through persistent behaviours.

There are many misconceptions about workplace bullying, a common one being that those individuals usually targeted are weak, ineffectual, poor workers. The opposite is true and it is often the strong, confident and competent people who are targeted.

It’s also an area that has come under judicial scrutiny this summer with the courts allowing victims to bring cases under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. In the case of City worker Helen Green, court action resulted in an £800,000 payout.

Research conducted by Ban Bullying At Work showed that unfair criticism and intimidating behaviour are the most commonly cited examples.

Just over half the 3,000 victims of bullying interviewed said they had been bullied for over a year. Almost 23 per cent had been bullied for 6 to 12 months. More than one in ten people said that line managers were the most likely to be bullies.

Workplace bullying affects people in different ways. The most commonly cited effects are fears about going to work, and a lowering of self-esteem and self-confidence. It also has a serious impact on performance: 60 per cent of respondents say it has affected the quality of their work, and 51 per cent say it has caused them to take time off.

For more information about Ban Bullying at Work Day go to: www.banbullyingatwork.com

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Annie Hayes

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