Bullying is still a major problem for many British workplaces and often happens without even being checked by managers, research shows.
A study by employment law firm Slater and Gordon found that 37 per cent of employees said they felt they had been bullied, whereas 21 per cent saw colleagues being subjected to the same kind of abuse.
Over two-thirds of witnesses explained that their colleague was a victim of a sustained period of abuse, including being deliberately humiliated and suffering racist or inappropriate sexual remarks.
One in 15 respondents said that they had seen their colleague’s work being sabotaged, whereas one in 20 saw physical violence between workmates.
As well as this, of those who were bullied, 43 per cent said they felt intimidated at work, while nearly a quarter said they were repeatedly shouted at and one in 20 reported that they had things thrown at them.
Even though this abuse was highly inappropriate, it was simply labelled “banter” in 56 per cent of cases and only 48 per cent of victims and witnesses took action following evidence.
Claire Dawson, employment lawyer at Slater and Gordon, said: “The majority of bullying comes in the form of verbal abuse or intimidation. This is often dismissed as ‘banter’ between colleagues but the workplace shouldn’t be a place where people are insulted.
“The idea that people can be subjected to physical violence while at work is quite alarming. This can have a devastating impact on the person who is being bullied and can result in depression and anxiety.”
Respondents explained that they felt too awkward to do anything about bullying, as 20 per cent feared being targeted by bullies and one in ten were worried they would lose their job if they spoke out.
Posted by Jon Aspinell on 24th August 2015
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