Occupational illness

Occupational stress or bullying at work can cause injury.

In the workplace, bullying can carried out by a manager, co-worker or subordinate. Bullying can be a one-off physical assault or a series of assaults. More usually, it is an accumulation, over a long period of time, of many “minor” incidents. These are typically  so minor in themselves that they do not provide grounds for a grievance or disciplinary action.

The following type of activities can constitute bullying:

  • constant nit picking, fault finding and criticism of a trivial nature. Triviality, regularity and frequency betray bullying. Often there is a grain of truth in the criticism which can fool people into believing the criticism has validity, which it does not; often, the criticism can be based on distortion, misrepresentation or fabrication.
  • a constant refusal to acknowledge contributions and achievements or to recognise a workers existence and value.
  • constant attempts to undermine position, status, worth, value and potential.
  • being singled out and treated differently
  • being isolated and separated from colleagues, excluded from what is going on, marginalised, overruled, ignored or frozen out
  • being belittled, demeaned and patronised, especially in front of others
  • being overloaded with work , or having your work taken away and replaced either with menial tasks or with no work at all
  • finding that work – and the credit for it – is stolen and plagiarised
  • having responsibility increased but authority taken away
  • having annual leave, sickness leave and – especially – compassionate leave refused
  • being denied the training necessary to fulfil duties
  • finding actions are distorted or mis-represented
  • being subjected to disciplinary procedures for trivial or fabricated reasons and without proper investigation
  • being coerced into leaving

What symptoms can bullying and stress cause?

  • constant high levels of stress and anxiety
  • frequent illness such as viral infections (stress can affect your immune system)
  • aches and pains with no obvious cause also back pain which won’t go away or respond to treatment
  • headaches and migraines
  • tiredness, exhaustion, constant fatigue
  • sleeplessness, nightmares, waking early, waking up tired
  • flashbacks and replays, obsessiveness
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis, athlete’s foot, ulcers, shingles, urticaria
  • poor concentration
  • bad or intermittently-functioning memory, forgetfulness
  • sweating, trembling, shaking, palpitations or panic attacks
  • tearfulness, bursting into tears over trivial things
  • uncharacteristic irritability and angry outbursts
  • hyper-vigilance (which may feel like but is not paranoia)
  • being constantly on edge
  • hypersensitivity, fragility, isolation, withdrawal
  • reactive depression, lethargy, hopelessness, anger, or futility
  • low self-confidence, low self-worth and self-esteem