It all starts with a conversation

The law is clear: no one should experience workplace bullying.

Teksti Tuomo Tamminen kuvat istockphoto

What can you do if you feel you’ve been bullied or otherwise treated unfairly in the workplace?

Start by expressing your feelings to the person you feel is bullying you. The experience of being bullied is always genuine, but sometimes there can be a misunderstanding or communication barrier.

The person accused of misconduct must first know what he or she is being accused of. If this approach does not resolve matters, contact your supervisor. If you feel uncomfortable raising the matter alone, ask your health and safety representative for help. Ultimately, employers are responsible for occupational safety, but the law stipulates that employees must refrain from harassment and other inappropriate treatment.

The person accused of misconduct must first know what he or she is being accused of.

What if you are unsure if anything wrong has occurred? What constitutes inappropriate treatment?

Improper treatment can include behaviour that is bullying, neglectful, belittling, ignoring, isolating, discriminating, threatening, or defaming.

However, conflicts are often open to interpretation and therefore need to be discussed. It is not bullying, for example, for a supervisor to assign an unpleasant task to an employee. Many employers list workplace rules on the company intranet, which can provide guidance in difficult situations.

What particular characteristics of universities and other academic communities should be considered?

Universities are workplaces where people work independently and passionately. This can lead to individuals taking on excessive workloads at their own initiative. It may also come as a surprise to those from other cultures that at a Finnish university, one should inform supervisors if there is too much work or if they are experiencing inappropriate treatment.

At a Finnish university, one should inform supervisors if there is too much work or if they are experiencing inappropriate treatment.

How common are bullying and other inappropriate treatment at universities?

According to a Vibemetrics survey of the OAJ, the Trade Union of Education in Finland, teachers in the university sector feel that matters are addressed less openly, and workplace morale is worse than in the education sector, on average. In addition, only 39% of respondents were familiar with their health and safety representative.

Questions were answered by Teija Golnick, special advisor at OAJ.

More information on identifying and preventing inappropriate treatment: ttk.fi

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