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Dr Sophie Henshaw is a work stress strategist, author and doctor of psychology with a particular interest in dysfunctional workplace relationships. For the latest articles, please refer to her latest blog site:

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Timing Is EVERYTHING In The Fight Against Bullies

Posted by on in Essential Anti-Bullying Tips
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In your fight against workplace bullying, timing is EVERYTHING!

This is especially true if you are a "high-income" professional because you won't realise how unprotected you are either by the legislation or the unions until it's too late - so I really hope you read this first!

Your employer is going to hate me for telling you this.

Big companies are cunning and know how to leave you reeling.  Sure, you may have a high income, but do you have any savings, or are you one-pay-check-away-from-broke like the rest of us? (JOB = "Just Over Broke").  Most high-income professionals  have a slightly nicer house, car and other "doodads" but also have high levels of debt to service, so job loss can be devastating.

Before you realise it, the bully has targeted you and it's only a matter of time before you're fired (for being bullied!).  This is outrageous, I know, but please keep a cool head and be prepared.

IF you earn over $129,800, per annum, you have exceeded the high income threshold requirement in the Fair Work Act 2009 and you are no longer protected by the unfair dismissal legislation!  That means they can fire you and you won't discover that you have no legal protection until it's too late!

As soon as you realise you are being bullied, please download an application for an order to stop the bullying with the fair work commission.  It's a 14-page form, six pages of which ask you about the bullying.  Take your time to fill it in now so that you can get your story straight and make a clear, concise, convincing and unambiguous case.  It costs $65.50 to lodge the application.

It's really important to prepare this document in advance, because you will need to file it at a moment's notice, sometimes within hours of the ambush the company is planning for you when you won't feel like doing a great job of completing it because you'll be too stressed and anxious to think straight.

Then, as soon as the meeting is called (often within 12-24 hours' notice) do the following:

1.  STALL!  Buy as much time as you can.  Even if it's just for a few hours!  Say you're sick, been run over by a bus - ANYTHING!  Just high-tale it to the Fair Work Commission and lodge your application.  

2.  THEN - go to the meeting but take someone tough and level-headed with you who can act as a witness and take notes!

3.  IF you get fired at that meeting, go back to the Fair Work Commission and apply for a general protection order - you have up to 21 days after being fired to lodge it and it will still work (costs are the same as above).  The beauty is, because you applied for an order to stop the bullying before you were fired, there will now be evidence that you were fired because you've been bullied!

That's why timing is EVERYTHING!

Just implementing this simple tip will place you ahead of your bully and the organisation that colludes with bullying.  The companies most likely to play these dirty tricks are those in the resources and construction industries where the dollar is king. Please share this information with anyone you know who might be affected!



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Dr Sophie has experienced bullying both personally and professionally.  As a new psychologist starting out in a government organisation that had “a zero tolerance to bullying”, she was the target of a serial bully who was never held to account.  Professionally, Dr Sophie has treated many clients suffering severe and chronic symptoms of depression and traumatic stress as a result of being bullied. She has also conducted numerous interventions in workplaces with organisational cultures vulnerable to bullying.

Dr Sophie graduated from Murdoch University in Perth, WA in 2000.  She initially worked in a variety of settings including maximum-security prisons, private hospitals and with GPs before going onto full-time private practice in 2005. 


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