Workplace Bullying Questions

This is the second segment of Bernie Althofer’s article on Surviving Workplace Bullying, which draws upon his book that includes a large number of questions Bernie expects an experienced investigator would ask when a workplace bullying allegation is made.  Bernie adds that the questions can be asked by individuals and the helpful hints contained in his book could be gone through and the suggestions put in place.

You can find the previous segment to Bernie’s article at Tips for Dealing with Workplace Bullying

The thirteen chapters of discussion, questions and helpful hints within Bernie’s book can be used to help personnel move from being or remaining a ‘victim’ to being a ‘survivor’ if they are involved in a workplace bullying incident.

The book chapters are:

  1. Overview
  2. Occupational and workplace violence
  3. Introduction
  4. The victim
  5. The alleged bully
  6. The organisation
  7. The medical professionals
  8. The legal professionals
  9. The family, friends and associates
  10. The investigators
  11. The media
  12. Summary
  13. A call to action

Here are some examples of the questions to be asked of all those related to the bullying incident or who will become involved: (Each question listed below is a ‘lead in’ to a series of related questions.)

Questions – The Victim (this is the person who is being subjected to bullying).

  • Who committed the behaviours against you?
  • What is the specific nature of the behaviours?
  • When were the behaviours committed?
  • Why has the bullying happened to you?
  • Where did the bullying behaviours happen?
  • How did you respond?
  • What do you know about your organisation?

Helpful hint: Know your workplace bullying policy and procedures

Questions – the Alleged Bully (this is the person who uses bullying behaviour and in some cases, the alleged bully can be the victim. The book details more on this indicates when this occurs):

  • Who decides if my behaviours are those of a workplace bully?
  • What is ‘reasonable management?

Note: There are a lot more questions that the alleged bully should be asking.

Helpful hint: Read the organisational/company policy on workplace bullying.

Questions – the Organisation:

  • Does the organisation have a workplace bullying policy?

Note: There are many questions that should be asked by the ‘organisation’ if they want to be in a situation where they can successfully defend an allegation.

Helpful hint: Have an implementation plan (including an ongoing training plan).

Questions – Medical Professionals:

  • What happens when you go to the GP/psychologist/ psychiatrist/counsellor?

Note: As a patient, you do need to know what happens. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Helpful hint: Be guided by the professional advice offered by the GP and/or psychologist or psychiatrist.

Questions – Legal Professionals

  • What do you know about bullying?

Note:  There are many questions you need to ask to make sure that you will get the best possible legal advice.

Questions your Legal Professionals may ask you:

  • Tell me about the circumstances of your situation.

Note:  Your legal professional will ask many questions to determine what happened so they can give you the best possible advice.

Helpful hint: Be aware that you may not understand everything your legal professionals ask you.

Questions – Family, Friends and Associates:

  • Are you legally prevented from saying anything to anyone in the workplace or elsewhere?

Note: There may be some internal policy that prevents you from talking to others.

Helpful hint: Understand that not everyone will understand your situation.

Note: Victims and alleged bullies may feel on the outer.  Do ask questions.

Questions – Investigators

  • Are internal or external investigators used?

Note: The use of internal or external investigators may have some impact on the outcomes of the investigations.

Helpful hint: Have an investigations policy.

Questions – the Media

  • Does the organisation have a crisis management policy?

Note: The media loves a good story. 

Helpful hint: Include instructions on how to respond to a workplace bullying incident in the policy.

Once again, special thanks to Bernie, and we hope to have the details of where to get his book in early 2009.

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

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