Is bullying in the workplace acceptable?

  robgf 10:56 04 Jul 2007

I was watching the topical discussion show The Wright Stuff, on channel five this morning. It's hosted by Matthew Wright and one of the helpers is Amol Rajan.
It is Amols birthday today and at the end of each commercial break, Matthew had given Amol a present, consisting of a weight loss belt, block of lard and control pants.
Matthew regularly makes derogatory remarks about Amols weight (he is a bit stocky), embarrassing him on national TV and insisting that it's only "a bit of fun" (but then bullies always say that).

The Wright Stuff usually opposes discrimination and bullying, but Matthew Wright clearly sees his behaviour as acceptable.
So is it acceptable for someone to bully a colleague in this manner, embarrassing him in front of his work colleagues, friends and family, as long as it's just "a bit of fun"?

  dagbladet 11:01 04 Jul 2007

"So is it acceptable for someone to bully a colleague in this manner, embarrassing him in front of his work colleagues, friends and family, as long as it's just "a bit of fun"?"

Yes of course it is.

  donki 11:20 04 Jul 2007

When I was at school in 1st to 3rd year I was about 6ft 4 and quite thin. My mates all called me "lurch", "stringbean", "lanky" I never once took this as an offence. Now im 25 still tall but put on the weight, I play football twice a week with my friends and am known as Donki because of my awful skill on the ball. Again i dont mund this at all.

I dont think it is bullying on the show you are talken about and as long as it is in jest I dont see the problem. I cant stand the way eveything is so "PC". We have a secret santa in work at Christmas and due to the good relationships we have some of the presents bought are hilarious and everyone takes it as a joke.

If there is no problem there i dont see why people feel they have to stand up for others like some superhero :s.

  benjiboots 11:21 04 Jul 2007

A lot of people are only able to exercise their humour at the expense of somebody else or some other section of society. . .

i think there is a rather large difference between bullying and practical jokes when the victim is up for it, i for example spent my 30th birthday with my trousers flying softly in the breeze atop a flagpole, this was fine and i got the buggers back.
there is however a widespread bullying problem in most workplaces a macho, braindead, cant sort my problems out, so will make one for you ilk of victimisation. personnally i believe most examples of this come about with personnal shortcomings and often when people cant shut up and put up and result back to primal instict. this should be stopped as soon as possible as it will usually get worse.
i think any employee should not be afraid to talk to their superiors about this, to my mind it should be treated with the same vigar as racism and sexism, but sadly we dont seem to be at that stage yet. we spend a large part of our lives in the workplace and bullying is simply unexceptable.

excuse the spelling.

  wee eddie 11:41 04 Jul 2007

What you have described is Bullying.

A single, once-off, jape would not normally be described so but the moment it is repeated, then it becomes Bullying.

And, no longer funny

  John B 11:48 04 Jul 2007
  robgf 12:35 04 Jul 2007

"One has to assume that it was a set-up"

I'm not sure that it was a set-up, Amol didn't look to happy about getting the "presents".
Also the attacks about his weight are persistent, it is mentioned most days when he is asked for the audience opinions.

  Jak_1 12:53 04 Jul 2007

There is a fine line between bullying and just a bit of fun. The way I see things is that bullying is a mlicious intent to hurt the victim either physcically or mentally, that is not acceptable. A bit of fun may hurt but is not intended to cause suffering but this can be taken too far at times and end up hurting the victim. Everyone is different in what they can take or not take. I have always worked on the principle that if you throw it then you must be prepared to recieve it. There are times when people overstep the mark without realising it and cause hurt unintentially. Most things done in the media are pre-meditated and people in the media ie radio/tv are usually strong willed enough to sling back any jibes and find a way of reversing things.

  Totally-braindead 12:54 04 Jul 2007

To me it all depends on how the comments are meant, ie if they are meant to be amusing and not intended just to offend and if the person who is the butt of the joke sees the funny side and doesn't mind.
If the person is offended and tells you so and you carry on that to me would be bullying. My friends say some not very complimentary things to me often and I just reply in kind as its joking its not meant to offend, if something they said offended me I'd soon tell them believe me.
People have nicknames as an example for all sorts of reasons, usually physical attributes. If they are sensative about the attribute then you don't go on about it, if they see the funny side and laugh along with you theres no harm in it.

  Kate B 12:59 04 Jul 2007

I find it really depressing that adults who should know better bully other people. Kids bullying each other is bad enough, but it's all too common in the workplace. I don't know if the example quoted above is bullying or not, I never watch daytime TV so don't know the dynamic between the two, but it doesn't sound very nice to me. In general I don't think it's ok to pick on people's sensitive spots for a joke.

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