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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 23 October, 2002, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Teachers address workplace bullying
classroom
Many teachers complained of workplace bullying
A leading teachers' union has expressed concern over "significant under-reporting of bullying" of its members in the workplace.

The issue is being raised at a conference, Bullying at Work, being held at Stranmillis Teacher Training College in Belfast on Wednesday.

The Irish National Teacher's Organisation said the bullying of teachers was an unacceptable and a growing problem.

Tony Carlin from the union said: "Good employers have practises in place because they recognise that bullying is a problem.

Tony Carlin of INTO is calling for anti-bullying legislation
Tony Carlin of INTO is calling for anti-bullying legislation

"We want practises in place throughout Northern Ireland so that teachers can be protected and enjoy the dignity at work that they deserve."

One teacher told how he felt he was victimised after becoming a union representative.

In a BBC Radio Ulster interview he said: "At every turn the management were scrutinising me closer, overseeing me, questioning everything I decided to do and I got the impression I was being put under the microscope.

"Anxiety crept into my teaching. They came in and wanted to check up on everything, my plans, marking, and for the first time ever I was nervous going into a classroom environment."

"And that badly affected my home-life and my wife became ill with a stress-related illness."

'Employers terrified'

Tim Field, an expert on analysing bullying in the workplace, and a keynote speaker at the conference, said employers were still very reluctant to deal with bulling.

"In the majority of cases which I deal with, the bullying is the tip of an iceberg of wrongdoing.

"Employers are terrified of the legal liability because very often by the time they get to hear of the bullying it has been going for months or even years and they are legally liable for that.

"Denial is the order of the day, usually. But in these cases generally there is one person who is at the source of the bullying, who has done it before, is doing it now and will do it in the future."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bullied teacher tells BBC NI's Mark Armstrong:
"At every turn the management were scrutinising and overseeing me more closely"
Conference speaker Tim Field:
"Employers are terrified of the legal liability"
See also:

02 Oct 02 | Business
26 Sep 02 | Health
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