herald

Saturday 25 March 2017

'Bullying and booze are rife' at National Museum, says report

National Museum hit by claims
National Museum hit by claims

A toxic work environment rife with bullying, excessive drinking and "perverts" is making life difficult for workers at the National Museum, a damning report by RTE's Drivetime programme has claimed.

According to the yet unpublished Work Positive Profile Management Report obtained by the broadcaster, 70pc of staff at the state-run museum "want mental health support to help deal with stress and depression".

Disturbing

Psychotherapist Stephanie Regan, who ran an employee assistance project between 2008 and 2012, claims both museum management and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht failed to act on the allegations.

"Over time I heard a number of stories that were very disturbing and they were that people had made complaints and those complaints were taken off the file," she said.

"The toxic nature of what was presented, that is what is so awful, relentless and systematic."

The report into the allegations last November cited one employee who complained of having to deal with "bullies and perverts" on the job.

Another 20pc of staff claimed they are "sometimes" the victim of workplace bullying.

One in five employees stated they are "often or always" subjected to bullying.

The survey of 96 staff found that more than 40pc believe they will develop anxiety or depression due to workplace stress.

Nearly 70pc described morale at work as poor or very poor with bad communication and a lack of trust named as key irritants.

The survey cited staff requesting "social activities not involving the pub" as well as counselling and anger management and tips to "deal with bullies and perverts".

The survey concluded that "an unacceptably high number of staff endure personal harassment or friction with colleagues".

A spokesman for the Arts Department said the museum board was responsible for running the workplace and "holding the CEO and senior management to account".

The National Museum runs the Archaeology Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Museum of Decorative Arts and History and the Museum of Country Life in Castlebar.

The National Museum said it has set up a museum council and staff consultation forum and made "improvements in communications between employees and management" since the report was written.

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