Did Workplace Bullying Lead to Suicides?

noworkplaceviolence August 8, 2012 0

By Gordon Basichis

Daily planet

In a bad economy and a tight employment market, employees can’t adopt the old Johnny Paycheck song and tell the boss man to “Take This Job and Shove It.”  Tough to find another gig.  So the person with the job sometimes has to endure the the indignities thrown in his or her direction.   They can be harassed, physically and psychologically, or they may be forced to endure the invective of a manager or fellow worker who has long lost any sense or perspective.

I have written about workplace bullying.  One such article is entitled, Study Shows Workplace Violence on Federal Sites.   In all, no matter what study you read, whether you review domestic reports on workplace violence or reports from international concerns, it’s not a pretty picture.  Workers are wedged into their jobs and sometimes feel there is no escape.

Was this what happened at France Telecom.  According to a recent article in the Mail Guardian, the Chief  Executive of France Telecom may be responsible for workplace bullying.  At any rate, there has been a spate of suicides at France Telecom,  The Chief Executive has stepped down under pressure, after some 35 workers killed themselves.  According to the article, it was reported that the Chief Executive dealt with it perhaps less seriously than he should, referring to the workers taking their lives as a “suicide trend.”

According to the Mail Guardian…”Some workers left notes blaming unbearable work pressure, bullying and “management by terror” while scores of other staff, from senior technicians to staff who worked processing bills, were saved as they attempted to kill themselves. One worker was found unconscious after taking an overdose at her desk.

Unions complained of a culture of fear and depression, where managers did not take staff mental health seriously. Some union officials said the company had intentionally created a stressful work environment to push employees into quitting in order to reduce its labour force and thereby cut costs.”

Pretty messed up.  The investigation is ongoing.

This article was written by Gordon Basichis  and originally published on Daily planet

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