Workplace Bullying

By Berenice Meintjes

At Philafrica Foods everyone must be treated with dignity and respect at all times, and we have a zero tolerance approach towards any form of workplace bullying. Because we care about you we want you to be aware of your rights as well as your responsibilities.

What you need to know

Bullying refers to any unfavourable or offensive conduct which has the effect of creating a hostile work environment for someone as well as repeatedly attempting to torment or wear a person down by provoking, intimidating and intentionally harming the person. This includes:

  • Yelling, cursing or swearing at a colleague;
  • Blaming a person for the mistakes of another;
  • Taking credit for a colleague’s work or trying to sabotage their work;
  • Ridiculing a colleague through unsubstantiated criticism or copying emails that are critical of a colleague to people who do not need to know;
  • Attacking a colleague’s self-esteem;
  • Using social media and other communication technology platforms to intimidate, harass, embarrass or victimise a colleague;
  • Constantly criticising a colleague publicly;
  • Overbearing supervision, misuses of power or making threats/comments about an employee’s job security without foundation;
  • Being burdened with an unrealistic work schedule in comparison to others.

What must you do?

Keep a careful written record of the details of all incidents and using this information, write a request to the bully to cease their behaviour. Should the behaviour persist, write a formal complaint to your manager and thereafter HR.

What will we do?

Workplace bullying is a violation of fundamental human rights that often leave victims physically, psychologically, and professionally scarred. Be assured that you have an open avenue for reporting any bullying or victimisation by management or your colleagues, confidentially to HR, and the Company undertakes to investigate all reported concerns.

Your responsibilities:

It is important to note that having an assertive manager does not mean that the manager is a bully. Managers have the responsibility to ensure that each employee performs to the expected standard and behaves in accordance with company values. The distinction lies in the intention of the action: where the intention is to hurt, demean or humiliate an employee through direct or indirect negative actions or words, the manager has crossed the line and then becomes a bully.

Your rights:

Labour legislation now looks at bullying the same way it looks at harassment or a dignity violation, making it a serious offense. You have a right to the protection of your physical and emotional wellbeing at work and no forms of harassment should be tolerated.

Should you have unethical or criminal behaviour of any nature to report, please make use of the Tip Off Anonymous line.