Sunday, February 07, 2010

A petition - academic bullying

I'm taking a break while sorting out a few other things. However this seems a worthwhile petition to 10 Downing Street.

The case referred to in the petition appears to be that of Dr. Howard Fredrics, formerly of Kingston University. The case of Howard Fredrics is an important one - most especially so to writers who seek to call the leadership of academic institutions to account for their actions.
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to instigate an open enquiry into allegations of workplace bullying / harassment in institutions of higher education and concerns about the way the judicial system has dealt with complaints about such bullying and with those who protest (publicly or otherwise) about wrongdoing by their employers; the enquiry to be conducted with a view to addressing issues of concern that it may uncover.

Workplace bullying is a widespread problem wrecking health and careers and costing billions to the taxpayer. This problem is particularly serious in higher education. A recent survey by the Universities Colleges Union showed that as few as 45.1% of the participants were fortunate enough to never experience bullying.

Existing legislation addresses some aspects of workplace bullying, but does not deal with this problem comprehensively. There is also a perception that the judicial system does not always enforce the existing legislation fairly. Dissatisfaction with the way bullying is dealt with has led some to go public.

In response to the handling of a recent case by the courts, many academics and others expressed their indignation about the bullying that prevails in institutions of higher education, as well as the failure of the judicial system to deal with these problems satisfactorily. Similar concerns have been voiced before.

In addition to the obvious non-pecuniary benefits, addressing the problem of workplace bullying will bring about substantial pecuniary benefits in the form of improvements in the economy and cost savings to the taxpayer.

Sign the petition:

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Stuart said...

I was under the distinct impression that in order for the CPS to take a case for trial, two criteria must apply-
1. That the case should be provable; and 2. that it should be in the public interest.

These criteria do not, on the face of it, appear to have been met here.

Further, whilst I believe Fredrics has made a grave mistake in absconding, thereby leaving himself open to other (real) criminal charges, there are mitigating circumstances for the action. He should obtain legal representation and contact the police via such, post haste.

As to the verdict - in absentia. The question of whether it is in the remit of a magistrates court to hand-down judgements on the contents of fair comment in Internet blogs should be tested in a higher place, I presume ultimately in the court of human rights, as it strikes at the last bastion of free expression of opinion.

I signed the petition.

Anonymous said...

you have a wonderful site!

Anonymous said...

If the allegations are true, this would be very troubling that an organization that claims to help targets of workplace bullying has broken ethical norms by effectively outing its clients, thereby exposing them to potential victimization. It apparently reveals a rather sinister collusion between an org that is supposed to help people and what is arguably the most powerful employer