A strange thing happened this week. A while ago, I was asked if I was interested in being involved anonymously in a workplace bullying documentary pitched at BBC Three. I’m sure a number of people were approached. I said yes, of course. An exchange of emails followed, culminating in a request for video footage of the bullying. That brought me up short. Video footage? Has anyone ever heard of such a thing? They can’t get the programme commissioned without it, they said. But that’s like saying they can’t get the programme commissioned without the person who bullied me accompanying them to the BBC Three pitch to demonstrate his techniques.
I couldn’t get my head around it. All day, the same thing kept floating through my head.
Perhaps it’s a joke, I thought. I’ve never heard of someone taking video footage. What am I? Panorama? How would you pull off such a thing? How could you get away with walking around work with a video camera running in your tote? Would you ask your bully to stand still and pull a smile? It’s the craziest thing I’ve heard in a long time.
Covertly tape recording people in work will get you fired if caught – but you could explain yourself and it will help if the recording proves bullying. And at least you don’t have to actually find a way to point the device at the person you’re recording. There’s also a degree of anonymity with audio. Innocent colleagues inadvertently recorded are unlikely to be identified outside the remit of the office.
Filming colleagues on camera makes no sense at all. You’d never be able to use it in the public domain and your firm would probably find a way to prosecute – especially if some innocent colleague or company logo is caught in the background.
So I can’t understand the motives behind the people trying to commission the BBC bullying documentary. Surely they want to get people on board by showing their understanding of the subject? Instead, they’ve had me scratching my head wondering what’s going on. If they do get commissioned, I do hope their programme isn’t as perplexing.