Do we need Codes or Guidelines to Combat Workplace Bullying?
The answer is that neither will be effective alone.
Westmead Hospital has a Code of Practice and Anti-Bullying Policies signed together with the medical and nursing unions. They have a 'zero tolerance' policy which all workers have to read and sign each year.
Yet bullying and reprisals easily occur and bullying can go on for years at Westmead Hospital till the targets are ground down and leave.
If challenged the executive states that no bullying occurs because they have a Code and written Policy and that they have a 'zero tolerance' Policy to bullying. All of which is true; but it is a half truth lie in that little to no action is taken to stop the bullying which is occurring. Lots of Policies but no action.
The problem is that the managers are not accountable. If there is no accountability then Codes and Guidelines are ineffective. The Codes and Policies are available but ignored by the administration and there is no mechanism to make them apply the Code or Policy.
The problem then is how to make managers, executives and human resources accountable. There needs to be an accountability process and penalties in the legislation. There needs to be a mechanism in the legislation to prosecute managers, executives and HR who engage in bullying or who turn a blind eye to bullying.
Neither Codes nor Guideline will be effective without a mechanism to hold authority in organisations accountable.
The William Tarnow Mordi Scandal at Westmead Hospital
Mobbing of Lyn Downe at Nepean Hospital
Most targets of workplace bullying are actually whistleblowers although they may not realise the fact. They may have spoken up internally about a problem believing that it was part of their job to do so. But whoever caused the problem will see them as a whistleblower. Or they may be competent and moral in which case someone incompetent or immoral will fear that they will be exposed. The incompetent or immoral will fear that the whistle will be blown on them. Either way reprisals will be taken and there will be a campaign of bullying to drive the perceived whistleblower to leave the workplace.
It may be smarter to say nothing, keep your job, and anonymously leak your concerns to journalists. Let them do the heavy lifting.
Anonymous Whistleblowing - the safer option