Half the population are bullied ... most only recognize it when they read this
In the UK, there have been between 200,000 and 250,000 sales of TV cameras suitable for covert surveillance.
These days some employers are resorting to ever more sophisticated tactics to keep track of what their employees are up to. Telephone tapping - commonly referred to as "monitoring" - is routine, with many advertisements stating "telephone calls may be monitored or recorded for training purposes". Some may be for training purposes, but some are for spying. Call centres have achieved notoriety of late with vulnerable employees forced to work for long hours at artificially high rates or work and artificially low rates of pay, with supervisors listening into calls at will. It's often called, euphemistically, performance monitoring. Employment protection in such environments can be nil, with the most vulnerable people (single parents, ethnic minorities) at most risk. Often, the level of surveillance is highest in those environments where there are no unions. Levels of surveillance are also highest in those organisations with the least competent management.
Other monitoring tactics include overt and covert video surveillance, the use of security firms or private investigators, and more sinister methods such as developing software that records the number of keystrokes and then flags up anyone whose typing is not achieving the "required level". Also, the logging and reporting of Internet access, interception of email and duplicating what's on people's computer monitors on a screen elsewhere.
Invasive monitoring includes demanding and analysing urine samples, ostensibly for drug and alcohol abuse (who can argue with that?), or interviews in the style of interrogation for the disclosure of personal information. In bullying environments, when an employee is on sick leave because of injury to health caused by the bullying, the harassment is often perpetuated by the personnel department who bombard the employee at home with visits and letters (often hand-delivered at 4pm on Friday or immediately before a holiday) querying when they are going to return and demanding that they attend a "return to work" interview the day they come back. This often takes place against a backdrop of an employer who has failed to provide a safe system of work as required by the UK Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and thus whose negligence has caused the employee's injury to health. It may be called "stress" but "psychiatric injury" is often more appropriate.
Bully OnLine provides insight and information on bullying which identifies the different types of harassment and bullying which are often prevalent in environments which include excessive monitoring.
Look through this web site to recognise the bullies and bullying in your life ... start with Am I being bullied? then move on to What is bullying? To find out what you can do about bullying, click Action to tackle bullying. Have a look at the profile of the serial bully which is common to psychopathic and sociopathic managers, harassers, stalkers, rapists, violent employees, violent partners, abusers, pedophiles, even some serial killers. Everyone, whether spied on or not, knows at least one person in their life with the profile of the serial bully. Who has this behaviour profile in your life? You might be in for a surprise...
If bullying and harassment have caused injury to health, often diagnosed as "stress", see the page on injury to health and the one on the psychiatric injury of trauma, a collection of symptoms congruent with the diagnostic criteria for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
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