So then...

About Me

Welcome to my blog. My pen name is Eva James. I'm an aspiring writer paying the bills working as a legal secretary. Relentlessly bullied by my former boss, I looked for another job but the recession hit. Feeling trapped, I recorded everything in this blog, which serves as a revealing insight into workplace bullying. WEEK 1 starts the story and, as the weeks progress, you'll note what starts as banter soon spirals out of control. Sadly, it's all true. Whilst along the way I've found alternative employment, my passion for blogging about workplace bullying remains. Trevor Griffiths, legendary theatre, TV and film writer said at the outset, "I like the writing a lot: smart, cool, placed. If you were prepared/able to take your prick of a boss on, you'd marmelise him."

Saturday, 16 March 2013

WEEK 268 Video Killed the Radio Star?

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. 

Video footage?

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.

Very best 


RedShirt said...

That is ridiculous, of course! Also kind of ironic when so many bullies are clinically diagnoseable psychopaths who seek out publicity, foster sycophancy and LOVE to be on camera (doing other fake things of course)! If you still have contact details for BBC3 and the name of the program, let me have them. I have a lot of material that they would be welcome to if they still care about the issue.

blog owner said...

There was the phenomena of 'happy slapping' some years ago - the 'bully' taking his own video of the attack!

Without going into detail I have myself actually made a total of four requests for pubic CCTV footage as we are legally entitled to do - two workplace and two public - none of the footage was forthcoming. I'm not going to go into the actual reasons here (at this time in the morning! but by all means ask, the proceedings were all documented). In a nutshell, if an organisation makes a mistake while fulfilling a DPA request, then in the first instance at least they will be no more than warned (for whatever reason, accidentally deleted, legal staff made a mistake, etc.), and are able to get away with it. (Presumably if there are repeat incidents of not meeting requests then they could find they have more of a problem.) There is also the problem of CCTV footage being relatively easy to 'photoshop' - the software to do this being readily available and free on the Internet.

BBC 3 has a point - my attempts illustrate what they are suggesting in requesting footage should be possible, but my conclusion is that there is no way an organisation is going to voluntarily admit liability by giving someone the actual evidence they need!

My own knowledge of the issue is no more than that given by EJ in her book with some added extra personal experience on the ground of the issue, however I do think it is something definitely worth pursuing - at what point would it be legal to actually start covert recording, etc. (Maybe some pro bono legal advice would not go amiss here, what exactly is the situation and full scope of the law in respect of this.)

RedShirt said...

And who was it that you were talking to at the BBC Three? Which program was it? I of course have read and researched and used every alleged resource, none of which, as we know, work. I know your work, and I expect that you have also tried to clarify the recording issue, which is deliberately vague so lawyers can take money from us which we have already lost once to the bully! This is one article that illustrates the vagueries and the chances that if it is in public interest it may be accepted. You can't take anything from someone from whom you have already taken everything so go ahead! Sue me!

blog owner said...

Interesting article - but I don't think is intended to be a fully comprehensive answer to the question - grounds related to "pursued for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime" or simply "that in the particular circumstances the pursuit of the course of conduct was reasonable" exist in relation to other laws - it is this aspect in particular that I think might be applicable to the situation in which people experience bullying (e.g., where the company abuses staff from the board of directors downwards).

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