North MSP to wants Government to take hard line with regards to bullying
22 June 2016
Highlands, Islands and Moray MSP, Rhoda Grant who set up the Tobie (Tackling Oppressive Behaviour In Employment) website, in an effort to help those who are targeted by bullies and also those who have to deal with this issue, has asked the Government a number of Parliamentary Questions about their policy on bullying.
"Bullying never leaves you and can have a massive negative effect on anyone's life" she said.
"This issue is so very important to address, because it makes people ill, drives people to suicide and destroys lives, most particularly a young life at a time they should be growing up enjoying new experiences.
“Bullying in all its forms is unacceptable but up until now we have been focussing on work place bullying"
"I am passionate about this issue and that is why, with the support of my team, I launched Tobie in Inverness and Elgin and then rolled out the initiative across the Highlands and Islands.
“Since we launched the TOBIE website, we have had nearly 10,000 hits.
“ It is heartening to know that our site is being looked at and provides information, but it also tells us something about the size of the problem and that we need to do more to try and address it.
Rhoda continued , "You have to wonder if legislation is required to deal with bullying in all its forms.
“No one believes this is an easy issue to address.
“I accept that there are common law and statute offences in Scotland that could cover bullying, however, I think we need to raise the bar and make it just plain unacceptable in whatever walk of life it occurs."
" Today I have lodged Parliamentary Questions asking the Government what plans they have to make bullying a specific offence in Scotland. What plans have they to introduce an anti-bullying tsar and what plans they have to record bullying instances in schools and to publicise these figures."
Download a copy of Rhoda's news release >>>
Highlands & Islands MSP Rhoda Grant has set up this website designed to support and offer assistance to those who suffer bullying in employment.
“ It is a sad reflection on society in the 21st century when bullying is rife within the work place as well as at schools, colleges and in other forms of life.
“The individual who suffers at the hands of bullies is scarred for a very long time if not for life.
“Such behaviour causes mental health issues to the innocent sufferer who is subject to bouts of anxiety, depression, stress, associated illnesses and ultimately absence from work.
“Employers have a key role to play in trying to stamp out this anti social and unacceptable behaviour and as a stepping stone in the right direction, every employer should make sure they have an anti bullying policy which all staff are aware of.
“ I would like to think that any acts of bullying within the workplace will be viewed seriously and where there is evidence the perpetrator will be subject to disciplinary process”.
“Of course it is hard to get people to talk about bullying, but I would plead with anyone who is subjected to this form of cowardly behaviour to speak to someone about it in the first place, whether that be a colleague or a Line Manager or even a parent or guardian.
“I am hopeful that my site will enable sufferers to seek that right advice and guidance, point them in the right direction and hopefully see the individual being in a position to deal with the bully and break away from this unwanted and despicable behaviour”.
John Gibson, Branch Secretary UNISON said,
"We are very happy to support the Tobie project.
“As a union we have campaigned for many years, and continue to campaign, against bullying in the workplace.
“This project is a good reminder to both employers and employees that it is essential to give support within a workplace to ensure the health and wellbeing of all within it.
“Employees should not be undermined by behaviour that is totally unacceptable and should have the reassurances from their employers that when they report bullying in the workplace, that employer will take decisive action to stop it.
“It is in everyone's interest to insure that an employee can go to work in a safe environment."
Bullying/Harassment in the workplace
If you are the target of harassment at work, you may find it hard to evidence exactly what action another individual is, or indeed individuals are doing, to make you feel the way you do.
You may feel at a low ebb, even depressed.
You dread going into work and you constantly feel anxious.
You want to work and indeed you have to work, but the thought of going into work weighs heavily on you.
This type of behaviour from one person to another is not acceptable in any form and has to be addressed.
This behaviour has to be addressed for your own health and well being as well as for the good of your company or organisation.
Employees who harass others need to be stopped.
It may be difficult to evidence such behaviour or action, because there is not one particular incident or event that highlights this issue.
However it may be manifest as a result of a series of individual actions or behaviour targeted at you.
The TOBIE campaign (Tackling Oppressive Behaviour In Employment) has been set up by Highlands & Islands MSP Rhoda Grant who said,
“ Bullying of any kind, or harassment at work, has to be eradicated.
“It is the responsibility of the Employer to ensure the heath and well being of all staff is being maintained to the highest possible standards. “Such behaviour from one employee to another is just not acceptable and should not be happening in the 21 century.
“The victim suffers silently and in many cases alone.
“He or she cannot evidence one particular action or behaviour that makes them feel the way they do, but there may be a pattern as a result of a series of events.
“I want to engage with the business sector throughout the Highlands & Islands, I want to speak to Staff Associations and Unions and together I hope we may be able to make a difference for the victims who suffer this silent, energy-sapping and anti social behaviour”.