Last week in Victoria a new law was introduced into state parliament. For those of you legally inclined, it is called the Crimes Amendment (Bullying) Bill 2011. The new laws mean bullies could be jailed for up to ten years.
The law was quickly nicknamed “Brodie’s Law” by the media after Attorney General Robert Clarke said the Bill is in response to the tragic 2006 suicide of young waitress Brodie Panlock.
Sixteen year old Panlock was relentlessly bullied by three co-workers at Café Vamp in Hawthorn where she worked as a waitress until her death three years later.
As The Herald Sun reported:-
“The court was told co-workers abused her, spat on her, poured beer over her and held her down while she was doused in cooking oil. When she first attempted suicide she was mocked for failing, then offered rat poison”.
Many interesting articles were published about the proposed new laws. Some said the laws had gone to far like this one in The Australian . Meanwhile The Age claimed the only thing that can really be done about workplace bullying, is for the victim to leave the workplace.
I know a thing or two about bullying in the workplace. I’ve written policies and I run anti-bullying training sessions. I’ve investigated bullying complaints for workplaces.
I’ve personally been bullied twice by managers in two separate workplaces. And yet to those who meet me, and even those who know me quite well, I seem confident and self-assured. But bullying can happen to anyone – and anyone can be a bully.
If there is one thing I have learnt from personal and professional experience, bullies are not just power hungry managers, although there are certainly managers that can easily be placed in the bully category.
The following youtube clip is a 7PM Project story about workplace psychopaths.
On the radio last week I heard the DJ remembering how he used to relentlessly flick the bras of “big busted” girls in primary school. Apparently Kim Kardashian claims she was bullied in this way as a child.
The DJ said this was “not nice behaviour but it’s not bullying. The term bullying gets bandied around too much these days”.
I remember receiving the bra flick treatment as a 10 year old girl in Grade 4. Along with being called “fat ape” by my so-called best friend.
- Is that kind of school yard behaviour just harmless fun or something more?
- Have you ever been the victim of bullying at school or at work?
- Do you think bullying is a problem in Australian workplaces?
In my experience both personally and professionally, bullying does not simply stop and go away. Something needs to happen to break the cycle.
Cheers till next time,