More than a third of employees believe they have been bullied in their workplace, according to research for employment law specialists Slater and Gordon.
The report for the online survey of 2,000 men and women working in the UK showed that tight deadlines, personality clashes and office politics often caused tensions to run high, with more than 37 percent of those questioned saying they felt they had been bullied themselves, and a further 21 percent admitting they have witnessed colleagues being subjected to abuse.
But while most people had witnessed or believed they had faced bullying in the workplace, less than half (48 percent) did anything about it because they were worried about losing their job, or hurting their career prospects.
The most common forms of bullying were reported to be rudeness, bitchy or gossiping behaviour, and humiliation in front of colleagues. Others mentioned shouting, finger-pointing and swearing.
· One in ten had heard racist insults
· One in six saw a co-worker subjected to inappropriate sexual remarks
· Childish pranks were seen by 24 percent
· One in 15 saw their colleague’s work being sabotaged
· One in 20 had witnessed physical violence between workmates
The bullying was disguised as ‘workplace banter’ in 56 percent of cases, while 68 percent said the behaviour was ‘subtle’, such as leaving a colleague out of work drinks, lunches and meetings. Four in ten workers who were bullied appeared stressed or upset by the behaviour while 21 percent were reduced to tears. Four in ten said they thought the bullying they experienced was due to a personality clash and 28 percent believed it was because of office politics.
“Every organisation needs to have an anti-bullying policy, and every manager should ensure that there is zero tolerance of bullying either by line managers or workmates,” said TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
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