Ouch Q&A #12: Bullying
6th August 2007
Q: Yeah, but I don't mean any harm. What if it's just a joke?
A: Well, it might seem like a joke to you, but you are doing more harm than you think, because the bullying you have started has a habit of carrying on into later life. According to a survey produced last year by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), disabled workers were twice as likely to report instances of bullying in the workplace than non-disabled colleagues- and that's not just people with learning disabilities, that includes everyone under the disability umbrella.
A: As an adult, it must be pretty hard to look back and see the 'funny side' if, as a child, you were in a situation where you were being bullied.Al Aynsley-Green, the Children's Commissioner for England, says that bullied children "are unable to enjoy a fun and active school and social life ... all forms of bullying can have a serious and detrimental impact upon [their] lives".
Q: Kids will be kids, though. Surely this sort of disability-related bullying doesn't continue into adulthood, does it?
A: Don't you believe it. In the workplace, such bullying can involve things like being forced to take disability-related leave as annual leave, not being supported by one's boss, and being forced to carry out tasks which are difficult due to the nature of a person's disability, but are not actually pivotal to their role.
A: You'll be up against the newly formed Commission for Disabled Staff in Lifelong Learning for starters. They are fighting for the rights of disabled people in all aspects of education - from school through to university and work-related courses, with the aim of ensuring that disabled people get the support they need to get the jobs they want without being discriminated against by people like you! So na na na naa-na!
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