Only one reported bullying complaint in Trinity has been sanctioned in last three years

By Elsa McEvoy

Nearly 86 per cent of reports of bullying in Trinity in the past three years have gone unsanctioned according to a recent FOI.

Of seven complaints of bullying in Trinity in the past three years, only one has been upheld and formally sanctioned, a recent FOI revealed.

During the academic year of 2015/16, there were three complaints of bullying, one between two members of staff and the other two between academics. However, none of the complaints filed that year were upheld and sanctioned.

The following year there was only one report of bullying and one report of harassment, all which involved members of staff. Again, these complaints were not upheld or formally sanctioned.

During the current academic year there was three complaints of bullying and one report of sexual harassment. The complaint of sexual harassment is currently being investigated, while only one of the complaints filed for bullying was upheld and formally sanctioned.

“Companies who put a real premium on civil, respectful behaviour (…) benefit from the sense people get that they must up their game and cannot just throw the toys out of the pram every time things don’t go their way at work,” said Patricia Murray, organisational psychologist with the Health and Safety Authority (HAS) on how to prevent bullying in the workplace.

“As there is increasing clarity, both from agencies such as ourselves and the Workplace relations Commission, on what is and what is not bullying, some issues previously reported as bullying are being reported differently, rightly,” she said.

The most recent European Working Conditions Survey (2014) on workplace bullying in Ireland saw that we ranked seventh place in Europe for incidents of workplace bullying.

Six per cent of Irish employees say they have experienced bullying at work according to the same survey.

“Any complaint should be given some time and space to be aired and that means sitting down and listening to it. Giving the person complaining headspace to better understand their own issue and to better understand what is happening,” said Murray.

“Often people don’t know what is happening and feel threatened and afraid. Then assessing what is being complained of, if true, would be bullying. If it’s not, if it’s a grievance or a conflict, then don’t process it as bullying,” she said.

Trinity did not respond to a request for comment by The College View.