One in three employees are bullied in the workplace. Most people who witness bullying do nothing about it. Bullying is often dismissed as banter. These were just some of the findings from research in 2015 by employment law solicitors Slater and Gordon.
Examples of bullying identified by the 2000 employees surveyed by Slater and Gordon included shouting, shoving, intimidation and threatening behaviours. Over 25% of those questioned had witnessed a colleague being deliberately humiliated by a bully, 10% had heard racist insults and 16% had seen a colleague subjected to inappropriate sexual remarks. What were often dismissed as childish pranks were observed by almost 25%, including colleague work being deliberately sabotaged and physical violence between workmates.
However, while most people had either been bullied at work or had seen a co worker bullied:
- Less than half did anything about it
- A third felt too awkward to confront the issue
- A quarter thought it was simply parts of the organisations culture
- A fifth thought they themselves would be the target of bullying if they spoke out
- A tenth feared their job could be at risk if they complained
The research found that in more than half of cases bullying was disguised as workplace banter. In many cases the behaviour was subtle, such as deliberately not inviting a colleague out to work drinks, lunches and meetings. In a fifth of the cases the victim was reduced to tears. According to the report factors such as tight deadlines, personality clashes and office politics were often at the root of the problem.
So do something about it!
Is your workplace free of bullying? Does your company have an Anti bullying policy? Does it take into account cyber bullying as well as physical? Do you have someone (impartial) in your company to talk to? If you can answer NO to any of these questions - WHY? No one likes a bully, and no one likes being bullied.
Please contact us for advice and assistance on this issue that causes deep distress to individuals and has a negative impact on your workforce as a whole and further affects your business reputation.