Dunne v Frost

Rowreach

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One of the cases I'm currently involved with is a woman in her 60s who targets every other woman in the team, especially the youngest. She's been in post for 6 years. The longest serving team member has been there just over a year, but was furloughed for most of that time, and is now off sick with stress. The others are actively job hunting.

Quotes from management so far have been "she has high standards, that's why she is harsh", and "she's always been like that", and "it's her way of showing that she cares".

In the same breath, management are asking why there's such a big turnover of people in the team and what they can possibly do to address it.

Managers are female. We've a long way to go.
 

Red-1

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I used to work in a very male dominated industry, and have some harrowing tales of sexual harassment and abuse.

The whole ethos was that women should see it as banter, but, TBH, it went way beyond that. If any woman complained, she was held up as an example as to why women should not be allowed in the group. They are weak and troublemakers to boot.

The trouble is, when you are there, you kind of have to buy into the banter - or leave.

One female had her breast fondled, complained, and was moved. Sure made me less likely to try an official complaint. If you didn't allow the abuse, touching, sexualisation etc, you were told that you would be put into danger.

I did stand up to it, unofficially, and, unofficially, supported colleagues who were similarly beleaguered. I eventually moved to a different area, never did do anything official, I don't think I had the power to do so and also keep my job. I am no pushover, people would be surprised, knowing me, that I put up with any of it!

For this reason, I applaud Briony Frost. Never heard of her before, don't follow racing, never heard of whassisname Dunne either. But, I do know how these situations can pan out, and think that she is brave.

As for the changing room situation, yes, that is institutionalised sexism, and also needs to change. But, in an improved area of the organisation I worked for, we also had to change in front of each other. We managed to strip to knickers and bra, keeping ourselves to ourselves, no genital organs were waved in my face. No one stared, we just got on with it. We had shared, communal showers, but somehow managed to arrange times for females to use them and times for males.

It is called being professional and a decent human being.

I do remember when one person arrived, who had made complaints in the past. Everyone was wary. No need to worry, she too was a trailblazer and improved the working atmosphere for everyone, sending some people kicking and screaming into the present.

As for the 'me too' wave... I never did complain, and one perpetrator in particular was awful and should have been reported. But, if someone else did complain and was not believed, then I too would come out of the woodwork to tell my tale, even now, 30 years later, as I know that, if someone did complain, she would still likely not be believed. I wouldn't do it for myself, but would back up someone else. I guess I too would then be slated for joining the me too brigade?
 

Flicker

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OMG Red-1 the example of the woman who was groped is horrific.

I’ve been re-reading this thread and reflecting on why some of the posts on here feel so problematic for me. I think it’s because there seems to be a group of people who feel that BF has presented as the ‘wrong’ type of victim. In other words, her behaviour or the way she has presented herself, has warranted some or all of the behaviour levelled against her. That it is somehow a worse character flaw to be confident, or enthusiastic, or present differently in different situations than it is to threaten violence or use abusive language or aggressively and provocatively expose yourself in the workplace.

To me, this attitude is reminiscent of ’what was she wearing‘ or ‘she provoked him’ - that in some way women invite violence, abuse or aggression if they do not conform and comply with society‘s (frankly unachievable) standards for how they should behave, how they should look, how they should respond when attacked, how big, small, loud, quiet, fat, skinny, light, dark, successful, independent, nurturing they should be etc etc etc.

It’s disturbing. We need to recognise it when it happens.
 

Tiddlypom

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“We have a job to support both and we had one member making very serious allegations and another maintaining their innocence of all bar one of them.

“We were trying to find the words that walked that tightrope and we understand why it has caused the issues that it has and why we do want to make clear that we do accept the disciplinary panel’s finding that Bryony was bullied and the language used was deeply and grossly inappropriate.

“We certainly accept we could have phrased it differently, I think there is that balance between the two polar opposite positions of the individuals involved in this case.”
 

Pearlsasinger

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I used to work in a very male dominated industry, and have some harrowing tales of sexual harassment and abuse.

The whole ethos was that women should see it as banter, but, TBH, it went way beyond that. If any woman complained, she was held up as an example as to why women should not be allowed in the group. They are weak and troublemakers to boot.

The trouble is, when you are there, you kind of have to buy into the banter - or leave.

One female had her breast fondled, complained, and was moved. Sure made me less likely to try an official complaint. If you didn't allow the abuse, touching, sexualisation etc, you were told that you would be put into danger.

I did stand up to it, unofficially, and, unofficially, supported colleagues who were similarly beleaguered. I eventually moved to a different area, never did do anything official, I don't think I had the power to do so and also keep my job. I am no pushover, people would be surprised, knowing me, that I put up with any of it!

For this reason, I applaud Briony Frost. Never heard of her before, don't follow racing, never heard of whassisname Dunne either. But, I do know how these situations can pan out, and think that she is brave.

As for the changing room situation, yes, that is institutionalised sexism, and also needs to change. But, in an improved area of the organisation I worked for, we also had to change in front of each other. We managed to strip to knickers and bra, keeping ourselves to ourselves, no genital organs were waved in my face. No one stared, we just got on with it. We had shared, communal showers, but somehow managed to arrange times for females to use them and times for males.

It is called being professional and a decent human being.

I do remember when one person arrived, who had made complaints in the past. Everyone was wary. No need to worry, she too was a trailblazer and improved the working atmosphere for everyone, sending some people kicking and screaming into the present.

As for the 'me too' wave... I never did complain, and one perpetrator in particular was awful and should have been reported. But, if someone else did complain and was not believed, then I too would come out of the woodwork to tell my tale, even now, 30 years later, as I know that, if someone did complain, she would still likely not be believed. I wouldn't do it for myself, but would back up someone else. I guess I too would then be slated for joining the me too brigade?

I'm afraid that has left me feeling very disappointed. Can I ask why you didn't make a complaint as you were leaving? That might have helped those coming along behind you.
 

Pearlsasinger

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“We have a job to support both and we had one member making very serious allegations and another maintaining their innocence of all bar one of them.

“We were trying to find the words that walked that tightrope and we understand why it has caused the issues that it has and why we do want to make clear that we do accept the disciplinary panel’s finding that Bryony was bullied and the language used was deeply and grossly inappropriate.

“We certainly accept we could have phrased it differently, I think there is that balance between the two polar opposite positions of the individuals involved in this case.”

Ther are plenty of unions that manage torepresent 2 opposing parties without making such a hash of it. They could always have said they were unable to comment until after the hearing and then commented properly on the findings.
 

Flicker

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I'm afraid that has left me feeling very disappointed. Can I ask why you didn't make a complaint as you were leaving? That might have helped those coming along behind you.
You may not have meant it this way, but your comment comes across as ’why did you not behave in the acceptable way for a victim to behave?’ and that Red-1 is somehow part of the problem.

While reporting inappropriate behaviour in an organisation that you are leaving may be a ‘safe’ way to raise concerns in respect of that particular organisation, remember that individual organisations are part of wider industries. Complaints are not received and dealt with in isolation, and anyone who thinks that organisations within certain industry sectors don’t communicate informally regarding who is saying or doing what is quite naive. There is a reason people don’t whistleblow and it is mainly that once they do blow the whistle they become unemployable in their particular sector.
 

teapot

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I’ve been reading the comments on and off today and I find the attitudes of some to be utterly disheartening.

From my own actual experiences of bullying in the workplace (twice by the same person with a two year gap) and the work I now do supporting women in coaching going through the same thing, I know far more about the subject than I would like.

Serial bullies don’t pick on the weakest. That’s no fun, no challenge, and doesn’t get the laughs. They pick on the ones who are tough, often not particularly popular with their peers (therefore lacking immediate backup) - ring any bells? - and they wear them down. Their mates also think the target is tough and can take it, so they do nothing to stop it and when it gets too uncomfortable, it’s too late, so they act like it’s just a bit of banter and the way it’s always been. The MO usually includes being very nice to other colleagues so that they can’t imagine what the victim can possibly mean when they call out the behaviour. Hence the “I never experienced any bullying” comments from others.

What the inquiry found (for those of you who cba to read any of the reports yet still want to air your views) is that Dunne mounted a campaign of targeted bullying against Frost over a 7 month period.

So it’s not about kicking off in the heat of the moment, it’s not about “accidentally” dropping a towel in a changing room, it’s about a grown up man abusing and threatening an individual in the workplace with the intent to cause maximum distress (and to make himself feel like a big important person).

I find it incredibly sad that there are people (women) on here who have so little empathy or respect for someone who has had the strength and perseverance to call Dunne out, deal with all the vitriol, and still be doing her job, riding multiple winners, and not revelling in the vindication of the inquiry findings but just wanting to crack on and ride racehorses.
This, with spades on.
 

Pearlsasinger

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You may not have meant it this way, but your comment comes across as ’why did you not behave in the acceptable way for a victim to behave?’ and that Red-1 is somehow part of the problem.

While reporting inappropriate behaviour in an organisation that you are leaving may be a ‘safe’ way to raise concerns in respect of that particular organisation, remember that individual organisations are part of wider industries. Complaints are not received and dealt with in isolation, and anyone who thinks that organisations within certain industry sectors don’t communicate informally regarding who is saying or doing what is quite naive. There is a reason people don’t whistleblow and it is mainly that once they do blow the whistle they become unemployable in their particular sector.
I'm not sure if yo are aware that Red-1 is a former police officer and then has worked briefly for the Fire Service. I'm not sure which organisation she was bullied in, I wouldn't be surprised if it was both. And that she now works in education, where ime bullying is usually dealt with appropriately, so long as one is a member of a union. I very much doubt that making a complaint about bullying ineither the police or frie services would result in a problem for a person subsequently employed in, or seeking employment in, a school.

I simply don't understand your opening sentence. What do you consider to be an acceptable way for a victim to behave? I would hope that, if a victim of workplace bullying did not feel able to report it while working within the organisation, for fear of reprisals/effect on her career, she would at least feel able to bring the bullying to the attention of HR/appropriate managers as she left
 

splashgirl45

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I'm not sure if yo are aware that Red-1 is a former police officer and then has worked briefly for the Fire Service. I'm not sure which organisation she was bullied in, I wouldn't be surprised if it was both. And that she now works in education, where ime bullying is usually dealt with appropriately, so long as one is a member of a union. I very much doubt that making a complaint about bullying ineither the police or frie services would result in a problem for a person subsequently employed in, or seeking employment in, a school.

I simply don't understand your opening sentence. What do you consider to be an acceptable way for a victim to behave? I would hope that, if a victim of workplace bullying did not feel able to report it while working within the organisation, for fear of reprisals/effect on her career, she would at least feel able to bring the bullying to the attention of HR/appropriate managers as she left
it doesn’t matter if you are going for a job in a completely different organisation you still need a good reference so I completely understand why someone wouldn’t rock the boat. I left the bank I worked for when I had a breakdown which was caused by how I was treated in comparison to males doing the same job amongst other things , females had to be better at their job than the men and even in 2000 we were still paid less. If I had reported what happened to me it would have made no difference to their behaviour but would have caused me more stress and 20 years later I still have bad dreams about things which happened…. Some of us seem strong on the outside but the inside is jelly..
 

Red-1

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I'm afraid that has left me feeling very disappointed. Can I ask why you didn't make a complaint as you were leaving? That might have helped those coming along behind you.
You may not have meant it this way, but your comment comes across as ’why did you not behave in the acceptable way for a victim to behave?’ and that Red-1 is somehow part of the problem.

While reporting inappropriate behaviour in an organisation that you are leaving may be a ‘safe’ way to raise concerns in respect of that particular organisation, remember that individual organisations are part of wider industries. Complaints are not received and dealt with in isolation, and anyone who thinks that organisations within certain industry sectors don’t communicate informally regarding who is saying or doing what is quite naive. There is a reason people don’t whistleblow and it is mainly that once they do blow the whistle they become unemployable in their particular sector.
However it was meant, I did find it accusatory.

I didn't complain as I didn't leave that particular organisation until 23 years after my issues had ceased. The culture changed whilst I was there.

I didn't complain at the time as I wanted to have a career. I had a mortgage to pay. I was wise enough at that time to know where the power laid. The supervisors and manager were part of the sexual harassment.

I did help that change by backing up fellow colleagues, by standing up to the bullies, but reporting officially would have been counterproductive.

I have since left two other organisations due to the way I have been treated, and complained about both on the way out, in my exit interviews. Neither time was due to sexual harassment though, just inept management. I have little tolerance for inept management. Both times, I did sit down with the person who was my line manager, to outline the issues, and each time was informed that nothing would change. So, I left and raised a complaint with top management.

I would hardly say I was a pushover.

I hasten to add that for the past 7 years, I have worked in an absolutely delightful school where staff feel more like family. There is appropriate discipline, along with care.
 

Rowreach

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Love what Kevin Blake said, he was so right that this should never have got this far if the weighing room officials had sorted it out ,
This generally applies to all things. If they are dealt with appropriately at the time, there is no need for them to escalate.

I've known situations that were ignored at the outset and ended up in the High Court as a result.
 

Flicker

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I'm not sure if yo are aware that Red-1 is a former police officer and then has worked briefly for the Fire Service. I'm not sure which organisation she was bullied in, I wouldn't be surprised if it was both. And that she now works in education, where ime bullying is usually dealt with appropriately, so long as one is a member of a union. I very much doubt that making a complaint about bullying ineither the police or frie services would result in a problem for a person subsequently employed in, or seeking employment in, a school.

I simply don't understand your opening sentence. What do you consider to be an acceptable way for a victim to behave? I would hope that, if a victim of workplace bullying did not feel able to report it while working within the organisation, for fear of reprisals/effect on her career, she would at least feel able to bring the bullying to the attention of HR/appropriate managers as she left
The point of my opening sentence is that it read, to me, that you were suggesting that Red-1 did not respond to being bullied in a manner that you thought she should (ie by reporting it when she left the organisation). My post was to explain that sometimes people do not report things because they fear being excluded from the entire industry in which they work.

I too would hope that individuals are able to raise concerns when they leave an organisation, either with senior managers or HR. I know, however, from experience that this is just not always possible due to fear of reprisals from the industry as a whole.

It is not for Red-1 (or any victim of bullying for that matter) to have to justify or explain why they did, or did not, follow a particular course of action. Each victim will respond in each circumstance in a way that they consider the best way to keep themselves safe. Until you have been there, you can’t judge.

Red-1, in no way was my post meant to insinuate that you had done anything wrong, but to explain to Pearlsacarolsinger why in certain circumstances people sometimes choose to follow a certain path of action.
 

Parrotperson

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AdorableAlice

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It’s good until she writes

‘But I just can’t. Because when I look at Robbie I see a victim too’

he’s not and never will be the victim here. To call him such is utter nonsense and entire wrong.
The writer says 'a victim' not the victim. Two very different meanings and the writer in context means both are victims of the poor handling of the case. The writer is not judging who is more in the wrong and indicates that Dunne is way out of order, which he certainly is.
 

Rowreach

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The writer says 'a victim' not the victim. Two very different meanings and the writer in context means both are victims of the poor handling of the case. The writer is not judging who is more in the wrong and indicates that Dunne is way out of order, which he certainly is.
She goes on to specifically say that he is a victim of his upbringing, and the blokes he associates with.

And then to say that BF will forever be known as the woman who ruined his career.

He did that himself.
 

DiNozzo

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And the nonsense about mens mental health at the end makes the entire piece utter rubbish.*

What bearing does men's mental health have on the case? "Robbie" would have far better mental health had he not systemically bullied Frost. So would Frost for that matter!

*Of course men's mental health matters in far wider contexts than the specifics of this case and Dunne's punishment, but it has nothing at all to do with the matter hand and should therefore have been excluded instead of shoe-horned in.
 
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