False Allegation in the Workplace

It is clear to us all that life has changed drastically over the past ten years. The high cost of living, the pressures of paying bills, work pressures and now all to often we spend hours each day sitting in traffic trying to get to and from work.

These are very real facts of life for the majority of us. As these types of pressures increase so to does our ability to communicate and get on with our fellow colleagues. The array of emotions and frustrations of life can play out each day in our relationships with those we work with and for. For most the time in work is filled with good humour and gossip for others the pressures of working with people who you don't get on with can be difficult and ad to the problems one may have. In real life not everybody gets on or likes each other, this is normal but should never affect the work that you're paid to do.

These issues can be added too by having someone in a senior position who may also be suffering from the effects of work related stress or is someone maybe not qualified to be in such a position or is just not a great leader, this then makes the working relationships extremely difficult and challenging.

In my experience those that are subjected to acts of being falsely accused of something often work in areas where there is a lack of leadership and overall sense of instability within the working team and environment. These false allegations can stem for example from such issues as staff members putting others down for their work habits at meetings when the other person isn't there, or going so far as to make allegations out of spite and jealously. They are then further exasperated when or if the individual/s are faced with having to back up their claims, this can result in further stories and lies being told. All to often with firm management these issues can be sorted and even rectified from the moment they begin but when they are not then the trouble begins.

When a false allegation is made all involved have to account for their roles including the senior manager who now faces attention in regard to their inability to deal effectively with such issues before they develop, this may well result in the senior staff member covering their own back and supporting the lies being told. At times it may well be an issue driven by a Manager in order to make themselves look important or be seen to be working or out of insecurity in their own position if the person is more qualified than themselves.

If a situation arises and gets to this point it should be made clear to all what the process is in regard to dealing with such allegations and how it may well effect all involved if it continues on a formal path. There should be a cooling off period in which those parties making allegations can consider what in fact it will mean to do so. I need to make it very clear again at this point that this entry is in regard to those making false allegations and not those who are truly suffering as a result such incidents as bullying and harassment. The policy by which those making false allegations are dealt with needs to be discussed and the person appointed to investigate the allegation needs to be impartial, if not the case is wrong from the start.

Nearly all to often in my experience the vast majority of those on the receiving end of false allegations are Males colleagues with the allegations coming from Female colleagues. However, false allegations can be seen in many areas of employment and between all sexes, an example could be those in the Police Services who are continuously at the wrong end of false allegations by those out to make money and seek revenge etc, or those working in such areas as Prisons and Places of Detention who may face false allegations due to their working position. Allegation of sexual harassment against a man can also be a problem as they can be easily made and have long lasting consequences that are difficult to prove, even when fought and found to be unfounded there is always a level of guilt attached in the minds of some.

The best way to fight such malicious and horrendous allegations is to challenge the liars to repeat their allegations in court, certainly by all means go through the unions, seek other alternatives but in my experience you have to fight for your name and your reputation and if it means getting those that chose to lie into a witness stand to do so then that's the way to go (after all other options are explored from as early as possible).

There is one thing that always stands to those at the wrong end of a false allegations and that is the truth. It will often come to light that you may be responsible for certain minor infractions within your work, such as leaving early on a Friday or not having your paper work up to date, this trivial information will all come to light when those making false allegations are pushed against the ropes in an investigation, these issues maybe used in a feeble attempt to put blame on you, as it is easier at times for an employer to get rid of you than it is to challenge those not telling the truth. My advice is Never be swayed by such trickery, accept you where wrong apologise but never back down from the truth and always challenge the real lies being said against you.

If after the Unions are finished and little can be done seek out a good Solicitor who knows about employment law, in fact your union should have a solicitor for this. From the very beginning demand every allegation in writing, take your time with this as liars in such circumstances find it difficult to keep up the pretence. Start to catch them out line by line, respond in writing including copies for your Union and legal advisor make sure this is indicated on your responses so everyone knows you are going to the very end with this, Keep your responses short and directly challenge each lie, always finish with how upset you are, how these are false allegations and how this affects you and your family. Seek a good counsellor to support you and to also support your case if taken for emotional abuse.


All to often you may have to accept that you won't get these people to court, the employer will want to end it and will want rid of you. Never accept anything other than all of your wages and an exceptional reference before going. You may well then want to take separate legal actions against each individual, for me I think it's best to just walk away if you can, those making the false allegations will never be trusted again, your employer will know that they too were taken advantage of but can never show it, however, they will always have a black mark against each of the staff members involved, eventually these people tend to move on, if the organisation is big enough they will move throughout but will never amount to anything. You on the other hand have learned a valuable lesson, never get involved in such things as bitching even if everyone is doing it, never get to friendly with those you work with, never, never drink with your workmates and always keep a diary. Now these might seem like strong measure to take but you will have to judge the place you work for yourself, most will know if these measures are necessary.

If you're experiencing anything like this it's vital that you take some power back, try and find a solution very early on that in no way compromises your innocence, research everything related to your policies and labour law, look for information on your rights, talk on forums with those in the same position, start forums if you find non, seek legal advice from an experienced workplace lawyer, use your union to their full extent, never attend a meeting with your employer alone, never respond to anything unless you have a written copy of what you're replying to at least 48hrs prior to any meeting, take your time responding, appreciate your family and friends for supporting you. Try and let go of the need to seek revenge and the hatred you have towards these people as this will eat you up inside.

Always remember you are not alone, there are thousands of people everyday accused wrongly in their workplaces, some are extreme with two and even three people ganging up on one person but if you have the truth you will always win and take back your life.

This article does not reflect every possible false allegation case or every employer. People need to also be responsible for their own part big or small in conflict, but it does give an insight in to some of the difficulties faced and lessons learned that can be followed. Contact me or share your story for others to learn from.


Workplace Health and the Law


Against this background of unacceptable humanitarian, social and economic costs; legislation has been introduced to control all aspects of Safety and Health. The result is that Health and Safety requirements are now a major influence on every work activity however large or small. The principal aim of Health and Safety legislation and practice is the prevention of accidents and ill health. The three principal pieces of legislation in Health and Safety, which outline and detail this preventive approach are: The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 1989 and The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 1993 The Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005

2.1 The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act 1989 The 1989 Act reflects and encourages the preventative approach by including the following key elements:

1. Placing general obligations on employers and employees to ensure Safety and Health at work.
2. Requiring employers to implement a system for managing Safety and Health in the workplace.
3. Requiring that employees and employers consult on Safety and Health matters.
4. Requiring employers to produce a safety statement based on hazard identification and risk assessment.

The safety statement requires written details as to how accidents and ill health are to be prevented.

The Safety, Health & Welfare at Work Act(general application) regulations 1993 Under the 1989 Act, employers have to ensure the health and safety of employees and others who may be affected by their work. The Act applies to all work activities and premises. Employers are therefore required to provide suitable control equipment and train, instruct, inform and supervise employees so that their health at work is not affected. Employees also have responsibilities under this Act not to endanger themselves or others. The General Application Regulations add detail to the 1989 Act on accident and ill health prevention measures, and the notification of accidents and dangerous occurrences. It also covers Safety and Health aspects on:

• Safety and Health management.
• Risk Assessment.
• Emergency Procedures.
• Workplace Conditions and Facilities.
• Work Equipment.
• First Aid.
• Electricity.
• Manual Handling.
• Working with VDUs.
• Personal Protective Equipment.

In addition all employers are required to appoint a competent person to assist in complying with Safety and Health legal requirements and in the design and use of protective measures. The person appointed to assist could be a manager who has been properly trained to do this, although if the risks are complicated, or involves special knowledge, you may need to involve people from outside your business.

The Safety, health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
The Safety , Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, was passed by the Oireachtas and signed into Law, will come into force on September 1st 2005. Though the basic principles of health and safety law are unchanged. The Act includes many new and more detailed and more stringent provisions than the 1989 act which it replaces.

• Fines of up to 3m and /or up to two years in jail for serious breaches of health and safety.
• The introduction of on the spot fines systems for certain safety offences, which will be specified in further regulations
• Drug and alcohol testing for employees, the procedures for which will be specified in further regulations. Employers The significant new duties imposed on employees are to e.g.
• Manage health and Safety
• Ensure, in so far as is responsibly practicable, the preventions of risk to employees, Health from exposure to noise, vibration or ionising or other radiation of any other physical agents.
• Provide employees with training, information and supervision in a firm manner and, as appropriate, a language that is reasonably likely to be understood.
• Review Risk Assessments and Safety statements when there has been a significant change or there is another reason to believe the risk assessment is no longer valid and, following the review, to amend as appropriate.
• Bring Safety Statements to the employee’s attention on commencement of employment and annually have the Safety Statement, or a relevant extract from it available in every workplace.
Employees • E.g. Not to be under the influence of an intoxicant to the extent that they endanger their own or other persons safety.
• To submit to tests for intoxicants, if reasonably required with the tests carried out by or under supervision of a registered medical practitioner who is a competent person.

Other legislation for consideration In addition there are several laws that relate to specific risks to health at work, such as construction work, lead, asbestos, chemicals and noise, and some that relate to particular industries such as major chemical plants.

Please See Related Links and Articles on the left for further information.

Employers and Workplace Stress

Why should employers be concerned about workplace stress?

A Report by

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

Stress is a normal occurrence. However, with increasing demands of work and home life, stress on the job is a problem causing physical, mental, and financial consequences for employers as well as employees. Studies show that stressful working conditions are associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, and intentions by workers to quit their jobs—all of which have a negative effect on a company’s success. Employers, managers, supervisors, and business owners have many reasons to consider the stress level of their workers:

Stressed employees take more sick days and file more disability claims than do contented employees
Disgruntled employees often quit after extensive investment has been made in their training, and another person has to be trained in their place
Job stress can result in decreased productivity
Errors made by stressed workers can result in faulty products that cannot be sold, or worse, that fail after sale and lead to lawsuits

Stressed workers may become depressed or angry
Alcohol or drug use increases as self-medication for distress, which in turn creates more problems

People who are overly stressed are less attentive and can accidentally damage equipment or injure themselves or others
At the extreme, stress can lead to violence, and management or co-workers can be hurt or killed – the term “going postal” has become part of the language expressing a murderous rampage as a result of job dissatisfaction

What is job stress?

A survey by St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. found that problems at work are more strongly associated with health complaints than are any other life stressor—more so than even financial or family problems. While challenges are a normal and satisfying part of work life, stress is not a necessary evil in the workplace. However, for many people stress has become synonymous with work.
According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), early warning signs of job stress include:

A. headache
B. sleep disturbances
C. difficulty in concentrating
D. short temper
E. upset stomach
F. job dissatisfaction
G. low morale

What causes stress in the workplace?

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related illness and injury. As part of its mandate, NIOSH is directed by Congress to study the psychological aspects of occupational safety and health, including stress at work. NIOSH works in collaboration with industry, labor, and universities to better understand the stress of modern work, the effects of stress on worker safety and health, and ways to reduce stress in the workplace. Through its research program in job stress and through educational materials, NIOSH is committed to providing organizations with knowledge to reduce this threat.

A report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The NIOSH report states that job stress results from both the characteristics of a worker and the working conditions, but that there are differing views as to which set of circumstances is the primary cause of job stress:

1. Individual characteristics – According to one school of thought, differences in personality and coping style of the worker are most important in predicting job stress. Thus, what is stressful for one person may not be a problem for someone else. This viewpoint leads to prevention strategies that focus on workers and ways to help them cope with demanding job conditions.

2. Working conditions – Scientific evidence suggests that certain working conditions are stressful to most people. Evidence from recent studies argues for a greater emphasis on working conditions as the key source of job stress and for job redesign as a primary prevention strategy.

Both viewpoints suggest ways to prevent stress at work, but NIOSH “favors the view that working conditions play a primary role in causing job stress.” The report cites the following job conditions that may lead to stress:

1. The design of tasks – heavy workload; infrequent rest breaks; long hours; and routine tasks that do not utilize workers' skills
2. Management style – poor communication in the organization and a lack of family-friendly policies
3. Interpersonal relationships – an unsupported social environment
4. Work roles – conflicting or uncertain job expectations; too much responsibility
5. Career concerns – job insecurity; lack of opportunity for advancement or promotion
6. Environmental conditions – unpleasant or dangerous physical conditions such as crowding, noise, air pollution, or ergonomic problem.

What are the health effects of job stress?

The nature of work is changing at whirlwind speed. When the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker, harmful physical and emotional responses occur. Perhaps now more than ever before, workplace stress poses a threat to the health and safety of employees and to the health organizations responsible for their care.

According to NIOSH, many recent studies have looked at the relationship between job stress and physical and emotional problems. The report states: “Mood and sleep disturbances, upset stomach and headache, and disturbed relationships with family and friends are examples of stress-related problems that are quick to develop and are commonly seen in these studies. These early signs of job stress are usually easy to recognize. But the effects of job stress on chronic diseases are more difficult to see because chronic diseases take a long time to develop and can be influenced by many factors other than stress.”

NIOSH reports that evidence suggests workplace stress plays an important role in several types of chronic health problems, especially:

1. cardiovascular disease
2. musculoskeletal conditions
3. psychological disorders

The economic impact of these issues impacts not only the individual, but also the businesses that employ them: Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress.

What can managers or employers do to reduce stress at work?
To reduce stress at work, an individual should try to maintain a balance between work and family or personal life, a supportive network of friends and coworkers, and a relaxed and positive outlook. But it is also important that the workplace is a “healthy” organization. There are several ways to reduce stress in the workplace. While the employee may not have control over whether the workplace entirely supports a more stress-free lifestyle, possible changes can be made, or individuals can make an educated decision as to whether the workplace is right for him or her.

An understanding of the relationship between individual and organizational health
Recent research suggests that policies benefiting worker health actually benefit the bottom line. A healthy organization—one that has low rates of illness, injury, and disability in its workforce—is competitive in the marketplace. NIOSH research has found the following organizational characteristics to be associated with both healthy, low-stress work and high levels of productivity:

1. recognition of employees for good work performance
2. opportunities for career development
3. an organizational culture that values the individual worker
4. management actions consistent with organizational values

Stress prevention
According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company conducted several studies on the effects of stress-prevention programs in hospital settings. Program activities included:
employee and management education on job stress
changes in hospital policies and procedures to reduce organizational sources of stress

establishment of employee assistance programs
In one study, the frequency of medication errors declined by 50% after prevention activities were implemented. In a second study, there was a 70% reduction in malpractice claims in 22 hospitals that implemented a stress-prevention program but no reduction in claims in a matched group of 22 hospitals that did not implement stress prevention policies.

Stress management
Nearly one-half of large companies in the United States provide some type of stress-management training and Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs) for their workforces. Workers can learn about stress, time management, and relaxation. EAPs also provide counseling for employees with work or personal problems. Stress-management training can help to rapidly reduce stress symptoms such as anxiety and sleep disturbances. Such trainings are often easy to implement and provide, but NIOSH reports that:

1. The beneficial effects on stress symptoms are often short-lived
2. They often ignore important root causes of stress because they focus on the worker and not the environment

Organizational change

Companies that bring in a consultant to recommend ways to improve working conditions take the most direct approach in reducing stress at work. According to NIOSH, programs that identify the stressful aspects of a working environment deal with the root causes of stress at work. Such programs result in the design of strategies that target the identified stressors. However, such programs can involve changes in work routines, production schedules, or organizational structure. Often managers are uncomfortable with this approach.

Yet as the NIOSH report states, this strategy is key: “As a general rule, actions to reduce job stress should give top priority to organizational change to improve working conditions.” The report continues: “But even the most conscientious efforts to improve working conditions are unlikely to eliminate stress completely for all workers. For this reason, a combination of organizational change and stress management is often the most useful approach for preventing stress at work.”


Extracts taken from a Help Guide to Mental Health Issues.

Workplace Bullying

By Jeanna Bryner LiveScience Staff Writerposted: 31 October 2006

The office might be far from the playground, but it’s not off limits to bullies. From a screaming boss to snubbing colleagues, bullies can create a “war zone” in the workplace.

In a recent study, bullied employees likened their experiences to a battle, water torture, a nightmare or a noxious substance. Understanding the seriousness of workplace bullying and what it feels like to get bullied could help managers put the brakes on the behavior, shown to afflict 25 to 30 percent of employees sometime during their careers.

“Many Americans are familiar with sexual and racial harassment, but not generalized workplace bullying,” said study team member Sarah Tracy of Arizona State University. Bullying can lead to higher company costs including increased employee illness, use of sick days, and medical costs, ultimately affecting productivity, she added.

Workplace bullying can include “screaming, cursing, spreading vicious rumors, destroying the target’s property or work product, excessive criticism, and sometimes hitting, slapping, and shoving.” Subtle behaviors, such as silent treatment, disregard of requests and exclusion from meetings, count as bullying.

The scientists interviewed 17 women and 10 men ranging from 26 to 72 years old, who had experienced bullying. Often, people have trouble putting into words their emotions surrounding bully behavior. So the researchers analyzed the metaphors found throughout the participants’ descriptions of bullying.

More than any other metaphor, participants characterized
bullying as a contest or battle, with a female religious educator saying, “I have been maimed. … I’ve been character assassinated.” Others expressed feeling “beaten, abused, ripped, broken, scared and eviscerated,” the researchers stated in the upcoming issue of the journal Management Communication Quarterly.

The bullies were described as two-faced actors, narcissistic dictators and devils, leading workers to feel like vulnerable children, slaves and prisoners in these situations. As one employee explained, "I feel like I have 'kick me' tattooed on my forehead."

Bully-proof office
How can you take the bite out of a bully-fied office? “An important first step of changing workplace bullying, is helping people to understand that it's more than just kid stuff,” Tracy told LiveScience.

Early intervention can nip bullying in the bud before it escalates into an established pattern, one resulting in high company costs. The problem is that most bully victims keep their mouths shut, whispering their horrid experiences to close friends rather than higher-ups. The use of metaphors, the researchers suggested, is more subtle and more likely to seep into conversations both public and private.

The scientists will continue examining the prevalence and impact of workplace bullying. In another research project, which will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Office Management, they found that out of more than 400 U.S. workers surveyed, 25 percent were bullied at work.

Workplace Stress and Fear of Lay-offs


Results Of Two New Studies Have Practical Implications For Workers In Companies That Are Downsizing

Washington - Modern workplace realities, including the threat of layoffs and working long stressful hours, may be taking more than just a mental toll on your body -- they could be putting your health and safety at risk, according to two studies published in this month's Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association (APA).
In the first study, researchers found that the threat of lay-offs can put workers at risk for workplace injuries and accidents. In this study of 237 food-processing plant employees, employees who feared they might be laid off showed decreased safety motivation and compliance, which are related to higher levels of workplace injuries and accidents.

Psychologist Tahira M. Probst, Ph.D., and Ty L. Brubaker, B.S., of Washington State University Vancouver, surveyed workers at two plants of a large U.S. food processing company which had recently undergone major organizational changes affecting the job security of the company's employees. In the first plant, an entire shift of workers was laid off in preparation for what was rumored to be the eventual shut down of the entire plant. At the other plant, the swing shift was being eliminated in favor of a night shift. Those employees who could not work the night shift, like single-parent employees with no day-care alternatives, were expected to lose their jobs. Employees at both plants were asked to take part in the study at two time periods, immediately after the shift changes were announced, and six months following the organizational restructuring.

The researchers found that those employees who were worried about losing their jobs showed less safety motivation and compliance on the job, which in turn were related to higher levels of workplace injuries and accidents. For the plant workers, that meant an increase in wrist, hand and arm injuries, the most common type of injury associated with food processing plants.

It is possible, the authors explained, that employees who have to juggle competing job demands of production, quality and safety may feel pressured to cut safety corners to keep their production numbers up, especially if they fear losing their job and are not actively rewarded for safe behavior.
"These results suggest that organizations not only need to consider the effects that employee job insecurity has on the job satisfaction, health and turnover intentions of employees, but also need to consider the possibility that job insecurity can have potentially dangerous implications for employee safety attitudes and behaviors," said the authors.

In the second study, 2,048 workers from across the country were questioned about the impact of their job on their physical and mental health. Researchers Susan L. Ettner, Ph.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles and Joseph G. Grzywacz, Ph.D., of the University of Northern Iowa found that serious on-going work stress and job pressure or working long hours and more shift work resulted in more negative reported effects of work on physical and mental health.

Specifically, those who worked nights or more than 45 hours per week (compared with 35 - 45 hours per week) were more likely to report that their job undermines their health. Individual personality characteristics also were related to workers' perceptions of how their jobs affect their health. Those workers with higher levels of neuroticism (emotionally unstable traits such as anxiousness, nervousness and sadness) and a lower level of extraversion were more likely to believe their job had a negative affect on their health.

According to the authors, policies related to job design may be undermining the health and well-being of their workers. "When a company is faced with decisions to meet production demands in the workplace, running 'lean and mean' could have unseen costs that might be avoided by allowing workers to avoid working chronic overtime and hiring additional temporary help."
Articles: "The Effects of Job Insecurity on Employee Safety Outcomes: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Explorations," Tahira M. Probst, Ph.D., and Ty L. Brubaker, B.S., Washington State University Vancouver; Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Vol. 6, No. 2.

Full text of the article is available from the APA Public Affairs Office or at http://www.apa.org/journals/features/ocp62139.pdf.

Please See related articles on Links for further information on employee rights and possible support services.

Work Related Stress

By Mark Reddy 2007

Acknowledgement and Extracts from the WHO Website

All employers should carefully consider the systems that they have in place for assessing, preventing and otherwise managing work stress you must be aware of your organization’s systems and resources for managing stress.

Internal resources may include occupational health services, human resource management (personnel), training departments or other individuals with responsibility for staff well-being and health. Individual problems which are complex, difficult and not manageable internally are best dealt with by a counselling psychologist, clinical psychologist, counsellor, or an occupational physician who may consult with a general practitioner or other specialist functions as deemed necessary. Identification of any groups at risk within your organization is crucial and should accompany the examination of available organizational resources for managing work stress.

Good practice in implementing interventions to
Improve mental health at the workplace should:

·        include an early detection (early warning)
·        involve the participants in the whole project
·        be integrated into management philosophy;
·        include different levels of interventions, i.e.
     the individual, the social environment and working
·        Confidential Occupational support services: Experienced and qualified Psychotherapists and Psychologists providing therapeutic intervention and support

The Medical implications of employee assistance programme’s written by G. G. Lloyd, Y. Doyle+ and C. Grange shows that studies of minor psychiatric disorders in working populations indicate a prevalence of between 270 and 370 per 1,000 employees. Most of these disorders are believed to arise as a result of excessive stress either in personal life or at work.  These conditions are an important determinant of sickness absence, and are the second most common cause of absences lasting more than 21 days. Work effectiveness and staff turnover are also affected and the economic cost to industry is enormous.
There are three models of service: internal, external and a combination of the two. The internal arrangement can use knowledge of the organization's dynamics to enable changes in working practices which will modify an employee's psychological problems. In one organization, 25% of all referrals to the EAP were made by managers. However, such models are frequently perceived to lack independence and confidentiality which are important elements of a successful service. “Therefore it is vital to assure employees that the internal service is confidential with the power to inform and support change” Reddy. M. (2005)

Work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.

Stress occurs in a wide range of work circumstances but is often made worse when employees feel they have little support from supervisors and colleagues and where they have little control over work or how they can cope with its demands and pressures.

A healthy job is likely to be one where the pressures on employees are
appropriate in relation to their abilities and resources, to the amount of
control they have over their work, and to the support they receive from
people who matter to them. As health is not merely the absence of disease
or infirmity but a positive state of complete physical, mental and social
well-being (WHO, 1986), a healthy working environment is one in which
there is not only an absence of harmful conditions but an abundance of
health promoting ones.

These may include continuous assessment of risks to health, the
provision of appropriate information and training on health issues and
the availability of health promoting organizational support practices
and structures. A healthy work environment is one in which staff have
made health and health promotion a priority and part of their working
lives. Having an effective Occupational Support service ensures this provision is supplied on the ground to all that need it.

The way we design jobs and working systems, and the way we manage them, can cause work stress. Excessive and otherwise unmanageable demands and pressures can be caused by poor work design, poor management and unsatisfactory working conditions. Similarly, these things can result in workers not receiving sufficient support from others or not having enough control over their work and its pressures.

Research findings show that the most stressful type of work is that which
values excessive demands and pressures that are not matched to workers’ knowledge and abilities, where there is little opportunity to exercise any
choice or control, and where there is little support from others.

The more the demands and pressures of work are matched to the knowledge
and abilities of workers, the less likely they are to experience work stress. The more support workers receive from others at work, or in relation to
work, the less likely they are to experience work stress.

Statistics Taken from the UK Health and Safety Executive

  • The 2006/07 survey of Self-reported Work-related Illness (SWI06/07) prevalence estimate indicated that around 420 000 individuals in Britain believed in 2006/07 that they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill.
  • The 2007 Psychosocial Working Conditions (PWC) survey indicated that around 13.6% of all working individuals thought their job was very or extremely stressful.
  • The annual incidence of work-related mental health problems in Britain in 2006, as estimated from the surveillance schemes OPRA and SOSMI, was approximately 5,900 new cases per year. However, this almost certainly underestimates the true incidence of these conditions in the British workforce. The most recent survey of self-reported work-related illness (SWI06/07) indicates that an estimated 245 000 people first became aware of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the previous 12 months.
  • Estimates from SWI06/07 indicate that self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety account for an estimated 13.8 million reported lost working days per year in Britain.
  • Survey data suggest the incidence rate of self-reported work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2006/07 is of a similar order to that in 2001/02. There had been a fall between 2004/05 and 2005/06, but this was followed by a rise back to the previous level in 2006/07. Both changes were statistically significant. THOR surveillance data shows a mixed picture with a falling trend in psychiatrist reports of work-related mental health between 1999 and 2006 but with occupational physician reports rising between 1999 and 2001 and then remaining steady. The ONS omnibus survey shows an overall downward trend in the proportion of people saying their job was very or extremely stressful between 2004 and 2006, leveling off in 2007.

  • Occupation and industry groups containing teachers and nurses, along with professional and managerial groups particularly those in the public sector have high prevalence rates of work-related stress in the SWI and SHAW surveys. The THOR datasets SOSMI and OPRA also report high incident rates of work-related mental illness for these occupational groups, along with medical practitioners and those in public sector security based occupations such as police officers, prison officers, and UK armed forces personnel.

Mental health legislation - a necessary requirement

General principles for mental health legislation to protect the rights of the mentally ill include:
Respect for individuals and their social, cultural, ethnic, religious and philosophical values. Individuals' needs taken fully into account. Individual's need for health and social care must be assessed thoroughly. In particular, it is important to ensure that the views of an individual (and his or her carers) are considered. For this to happen there must be close liaison between health, housing and social care services.

Care and treatment provided in the least restrictive environment. In order to uphold this principle, legislation should be framed so that involuntary (formal) hospital admission is a last resort. This can be achieved through: clearly defined grounds for detention; procedural safeguards when the power to detain is used; an obligation to discharge when grounds for detention are no longer met; an independent review of the decision to detain.

Provision of care and treatment aimed at promoting each individual's self- determination and personal responsibility. It is vital that individuals are given the opportunity to exercise choice and make decisions about their own care and treatment. Legislation should aim to ensure that: treatment can be imposed only in strictly limited and clearly defined circumstances and must be the least restrictive alternative; where individuals are unable to make decisions for themselves, steps are taken to find out their wishes and feelings; clear information on treatment and detention is readily available; appropriate provisions for confidentiality are in force.

Provision of care and treatment aimed at achieving the individual's own highest attainable level of health and well-being. In addition, to issues of quality and continuity of care, this principle addresses the question of a "right" to treatment. It can also cover more general issues such as the requirement that the individual should be cared for properly in a safe environment and subject only to restrictions for reasons of his or her health or safety, or the safety of others. In this regard: there should be no restrictions on an individual's contact with friends and family, except in rare and clearly defined circumstances; stringent safeguards from abuse, exploitation and neglect should be in place.

Emotional Exhaustion and Job Performance

This is an Article sent to me by a student of Psychology. It is a long but fantastic piece that should be read, I have added the link at the end for those wishing to read the full article.

Emotional Exhaustion and Job Performance : The Mediating Role of Motivation

Written By: Jonathon R. B. Halbesleben Department of Health Management and Informatics, University of Missouri—Columbia Wm. Matthew Bowler Spears School of Business, Oklahoma State University
Acknowledgement: Portions of this article were presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Seattle, Washington, August 2003.

We acknowledge the thoughtful comments of Mark Bolino, Stevan Hobfoll, and Jenn Becker.

Burnout is a psychological response to work-related stress that consists of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced perceptions of personal accomplishment (Maslach, 1982; Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Unfortunately, burnout has become organizational reality for many employees. Maslach and Leiter (1997) argued that burnout had reached epidemic proportions in North America. What started as a “buzzword” in the popular press in the late 1970s has grown into an important research endeavor; burnout is now the subject of thousands of research articles and dozens of books (Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004b). Nonetheless, despite suggestions that burnout has significant impact on people, their performance, the performance of organizations, and society on the whole (Maslach et al., 2001; Minnehan & Paine, 1982; Paine, 1982; Schaufeli, 2003), more research is needed to understand the relationship between burnout and its consequences.

The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between the emotional exhaustion component of burnout and job performance. Although some research exists that has explored this relationship, researchers have not adequately positioned the effects on performance within a theory of burnout and have not addressed how theories of performance influence the burnout-performance relationship. Specifically, researchers have not adequately addressed the influence of motivation. Mitchell (1997) defined motivation as “those psychological processes involved with the arousal, direction, intensity, and persistence of voluntary actions that are goal directed” (p. 60), suggesting that key to motivation is determining the goals that individuals work toward (Barrick, Stewart, & Piotrowski, 2002).

Motivation is commonly considered a direct antecedent to performance but can also be linked to theories of burnout in terms of resources invested in work. In this article, we specifically address the issue of how motivation is the mediating link in the emotional exhaustion-performance process. We discuss the existing literature addressing the relationship between emotional exhaustion and performance and then discuss how consideration of performance models influences that theoretical relationship. We present the findings of a two-sample study designed to examine the emotional exhaustion-job performance relationship with motivation as a mediator. The use of two samples allowed for a constructive replication of the model presented as well as increasing generalizability in terms of occupation of the participants (Tsang & Kwan, 1999). We conclude by discussing the implications of our findings for organizations and future research that considers the link between burnout and job performance.

Emotional Exhaustion
In this study, we focus on the emotional exhaustion component of burnout. This approach is justified, in large part, because of two issues. First, although Maslach's (1982, 1993) original three-component conceptualization of burnout has dominated the burnout research (particularly as it relates to measurement of burnout), a number of researchers have called into question the three-component conceptualization of burnout (e.g., Moore, 2000; Shirom, 2003) and other conceptualizations have been proposed for the processes underlying burnout (cf. Demerouti, Bakker, Nachreiner, & Schaufeli, 2001; Pines, Aronson, & Kafry, 1981; Shirom, 1989).

The alternative conceptualizations of burnout differ in a variety of ways; however, all of them include emotional exhaustion as a primary component of burnout, suggesting that it is indeed central to the experience of burnout. Second, it is common in the burnout literature to find inconsistent relationships between components of burnout and antecedent or consequent processes; emotional exhaustion appears to be the most consistent in its relationships with outside variables, such as commitment and job satisfaction (Cordes & Dougherty, 1993; Demerouti et al., 2001; Green, Walkey, & Taylor, 1991; R. T. Lee & Ashforth, 1996).

There has been some attention given to the various outcomes of burnout, including physiological consequences (cf. Shirom, Westman, Shamai, & Carel, 1997), turnover, and turnover intentions (Cherniss, 1992; Freudenberger, 1975; R. T. Lee & Ashforth, 1993, 1996; Maslach, 1976, 1978). Despite this effort, there still remain many questions regarding the outcomes, particularly those that are work related, of burnout (Maslach, 2001). Much of the theoretical work on burnout (e.g., Cordes & Dougherty, 1993) treats burnout as the end state, without considering what other consequences burnout may influence. This is problematic, as burnout is perhaps best considered as a mediator that leads to other important work-related consequences (Maslach & Leiter, 1999), among which is job performance.Job Performance

One of the most commonly cited negative consequences of burnout is a reduction in job performance (Maslach, 1982; Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004b). However, as noted by Wright and Bonett (1997), there has been a need for more empirical work conducted to investigate the relationship between burnout and job performance. In response, they conducted a longitudinal study that found a negative relationship between emotional exhaustion and job performance (see also Leiter, Harvey, & Frizzell, 1998; Vahey, Aiken, Sloane, Clarke, & Vargas, 2004; Wright & Cropanzano, 1998). Conversely, other studies have typically found very low amounts of shared variance between burnout dimensions and job performance (Bakker, Demerouti, & Verbeke, 2004; Schaufeli & Enzmann, 1998) and inconsistencies in findings when only considering emotional exhaustion and performance, particularly when considering multiple sources of performance information (Keijsers, Schaufeli, Le Blanc, Zwerts, & Miranda, 1995; Lazaro, Shinn, & Robinson, 1985; Randall & Scott, 1988).

A limitation of the previous thinking about the relationship between emotional exhaustion and job performance is that it has failed to adequately consider models of performance and burnout in explaining the effects of burnout on performance. When one considers theories of performance, it becomes clear that emotional exhaustion is unlikely to have a direct effect on job performance and instead should be mediated by a more direct antecedent of performance (Bakker et al., 2004; Jex, 1998; Sullivan & Bhagat, 1992). We propose that, because of its links to both performance and burnout theories, motivation is a potential mediator to the emotional exhaustion-job performance relationship.
Despite the theoretical mediating effect of motivation, there has been very little research investigating how motivation and emotional exhaustion are related. There is a paucity of research that has examined the effects burnout has on more direct perceptual-motivational processes. In particular, there is a need to better understand the choices employees make in directing their motivational resources; such an understanding will address gaps in understanding of the relationship between emotional exhaustion and job performance.Emotional Exhaustion, Performance, and the Conservation of Resources Model

The relationship among emotional exhaustion, motivation, and job performance can be explained in terms of the conservation of resources (COR) model of stress and burnout (Hobfoll, 1988, 1989, 1998; Hobfoll & Freedy, 1993). The model suggests three ways in which individuals experience stress: (a) loss of resources, (b) threat to current resources, and (c) inadequate return on investments made to maximize resources (e.g., an employee who takes extra courses in management to increase the likelihood of promotion but is passed over in the promotion). In recent years, the COR model has become an important model in understanding the burnout process (e.g., Brotheridge & Lee, 2002; Halbesleben & Buckley, 2004a).

One of the strengths of the COR model is its ability to explain the processes leading up to burnout, through the three processes noted above, and also the ability to explain the consequences of burnout. It is for this reason that we build on the COR as the theoretical framework for this study. Specifically, as emotional exhaustion represents a significant depletion of resources (Hobfoll, 2001), the COR model suggests that burned out employees will carefully select the manner in which they use their remaining resources (Siegall & McDonald, 2004).

Motivation as a Resource
Key to our link between emotional exhaustion and performance through the COR model is the notion that motivation represents the investment of resources. Hobfoll (1989) defined resources as “those objects, personal characteristics, conditions, or energies that are valued by the individual” (p. 516). In Hobfoll's (1989) theory, motivation serves as an energy resource; in fact, Hobfoll (1998) specifically listed time for work and motivation to get things done as part of a list of COR resources. Moreover, he noted, energy “resources are typified not by their intrinsic values so much as their value in aiding the acquisition of other kinds of resources” (Hobfoll, 1989, p. 517). As such, motivation is invested in the job to obtain other valued resources (e.g., good performance, continued employment).

Tying the notion of motivation as a resource to the relationship between emotional exhaustion and job performance requires further investigation of Hobfoll's (1998, 2001) notion of investment in resources. As a result of resource loss or threat of loss, employees tend to take steps to protect their resources. In effect, employees distance themselves from the situation that is causing the emotional exhaustion to begin with (Cherniss, 1980; Freedy, Shaw, Jarrell, & Masters, 1992; Siegall & McDonald, 2004). Moreover, employees protect their resources by coming up with better strategies for resource investment, such that they attempt to maximize the returns associated with investment of their resources (particularly their energy resources; M. M. Baltes & Baltes, 1990; P. B. Baltes, 1997; Hobfoll, 2001). One way in which employees might seek to protect resources is to put less effort into their work (lower motivation), resulting in lower job performance (Wright & Cropanzano, 1998).
However, as we have noted, employees who are experiencing emotional exhaustion will be selective in the manner in which they invest resources. This suggests that they will carefully select the type of motivational resources they will engage to satisfy performance goals at work. Throughout the motivation literature, various goals have been proposed, with three primary goals emerging: achievement striving, status striving, and communion striving (Barrick et al., 2002; Hogan & Shelton, 1998; McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, & Lowell, 1953). Achievement striving is defined as an individual's motivation to achieve tasks, independent of other people. Status striving is defined as an individual's motivation to obtain power within the organizational hierarchy. Finally, communion striving is defined as energy directed at “obtaining acceptance in personal relationship and getting along with others” (Barrick et al., 2002, p. 44).

From these ideas, Barrick et al. (2002) designed a measure of motivation that assesses the arousal, attention-direction, and intensity-persistence of each of the three cognitive emotional motives, consistent with the definition of motivation provided by Mitchell (1997). They also presented empirical support for the three-factor conceptualization of motivation and its relationship to performance in their study of telemarketing sales representatives. Specifically, they found that achievement, status, and communion striving served as mediators between sales representative personality traits and job performance (based on supervisor ratings of performance). In the present study, we argue that the three types of motivation mediate the relationship between emotional exhaustion and job performance. Moreover, as they serve as different forms of motivational resources, we argue that the manner in which employees invest in the different types of motivation, and their subsequent relationships to types of job performance, are associated with the experience of emotional exhaustion.

The Importance of Managing Time

If like me you find yourself wondering where the day went and missing out on quality time with your families, relaxing and taking time for yourself, then like me you are part of an ever increasing population of poor time managers.

The fact of the matter is many people today are operating under time constrants. We simply don’t have enough hours in the day to accomplish all that we want to. This creates an enormous amount of stress for us and our loved ones. We may feel as if we are constantly operating under deadline. We may feel fatigued and frustrated, and we may wonder if we are missing out on much of life because we spend so much time “doing” and not enough time “relaxing" We’re stressed at work, stressed at home, and stressed in life. The irony is, the more we do, the more behind we seem to get. We are constantly on the run, yet we may feel as if we are accomplishing very little. As a result, our frustration grows. We may become short-tempered, especially with those we love. We may feel as if we are constantly running tired, angry, confused, panicky and anxious.

The good news is there is hope, even in the midst of what might seem a hopeless situation. We can get control of our lives and control of our time. It may take a little bit of effort and time, but it will be well worth it in the long run, trust me well worth it, both for yourself and your family.

Many people feel as if they lack time to do the important things in life simply because they do not take the time to prioritize. Write down a list of your goals for the week. Then go through the goals and rank them in order of importance. After that task is completed, figure out just how much time you would need to accomplish each goal. You may find that just five minutes here or there can make all the difference in the world in achieving the items on your priority list.

Next, learn to multi-task effectively. That time you spend waiting for a lift could be used walking the stairs hence killing two birds with one stone, there is options to save time and manage it better if you think about it. Consider these moments as opportunities to accomplish some small, yet important, tasks. In order to be effective as a worker, spouse, and parent, you’ll need some alone time. Get an appointment book and actually schedule a block of time just for yourself. Your alone time could be spent on a hobby, working out, praying, re-evaluating your priorities and relaxing. Just be sure that you have some alone time each day. Otherwise, you’ll be shortchanging yourself, and you’ll feel more stressed as a result. Don’t be afraid to say no. You cannot be a cub scout leader, girl scout leader, fundraising, counsellor and friend all at once. You’ll need to pick and choose your assignments, both your professional assignments and your personal ones. If you simplify your life, you might be surprised at how much time you’ll gain—and how much better you will feel. Sometimes, it takes some backbone to say no. You might disappoint someone. But, in the end, you’ll be much better off, knowing that you have not over committed yourself. You should consider your time to be precious and sacred.

There are a number of duties which make demands on your time, those you love and those you don’t care for. By employing some innovative scheduling techniques, you can set aside the time for those things that are truly important to you. You’ll be less stressed, more relaxed, and better able to cope with the challenges you encounter on a daily basis. As you become less stressed out, you might find that your children, spouse, and friends follow your lead. And your world will become more harmonious as a result.

You have a choice, it's yours to take and yours to make.


Stress Management for All

Stress can be thought of as resulting from an “imbalance between demands and resources” or as occurring when “pressure exceeds ones perceived ability to cope”. Stress management is premised on the idea that stress is not a direct response to a stressor, ones resources and ones ability to cope mediate the stress response and are amenable to change, thus allowing stress to be controllable.

In order to develop an effective stess management programme it is first necessary to identify the factors stress theory suggests are central to controlling stress, and to identify the intervention methods which effectively target these factors. Interpretation of stress focuses on the transaction between people and their external environment. This transactional model potentially empowers the individual on which stressors act by conceptualising stress as a result of how the stressor is appraised initially and how the individual appraises his/her resources to cope with the potential stressor. This model breaks the stressor-stress link by proposing that if stressors are perceived as positive or challenging rather than a threat, and if one is confident that s/he possesses adequate rather than deficient coping strategies, stress may not necessarily follow the presence of a stressor.

This model proposes that helping stressed individuals change their perceptions of stressors, and providing them with strategies which help them cope with stressors and feel confident in their ability to do so, will reduce their stress.

Need for stress management
It is now an accepted fact in the medical community; according to recent research, that stress is one of the major causes of all illnesses. Stress can cause migraines, stroke, eczema, a weak immune system, and many other diseases. Stress is also known to cause medical complications during pregnancy for both the mother and the child. Hence, there is a growing need for stress management.

Techniques of stress management include
  • self-understanding (e.g. self-identification as a Type A or as a Type B personality
  • cognitive therapy
  • self-management (e.g. becoming better-organized)
  • conflict resolution
  • positive attitude
  • self-talk
  • autogenic training
  • breathing
  • progressive relaxation
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • diet
  • rest
  • stress balls
  • therapeutic massage
  • laughter

Some techniques of time management may help a person to control stress. For example:
becoming more organized and reducing the generation of clutter
setting priorities can help reduce anxiety.

Using a "to do" list of tasks that a person needs to complete can give a person a sense of control and accomplishment

Effective stress management involves learning to set limits and to say "No" to some demands that others make.