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40% of UK people experience bullying and/or harassment at work 

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A worrying 40%* of people say they have experienced bullying and/ or harassment from a coworker or supervisor, a nationally representative survey by law firm Wright Hassall has revealed. 

young Business woman sleeping by closing laptop while working, concept of new normal burnout, over or late night work at home during coronavirus covid-19 pandemic.

Of those who had experienced it, 62.5% chose not to report it, whilst the minority (37.5%) reported it to HR.

Tina Chander, Head of Employment Law at Wright Hassall, says: “The data shows a worrying trend and is a warning to employers and HR teams across the country. It highlights that more needs to be done to make workplaces a safe space where people can feel comfortable to express their experiences.

“It can be sometimes viewed as a grey area as it’s not always obvious, but any workplace that tolerates bullying or isn’t aware that it has a problem is asking for trouble.”

The survey found that one-third more women experience bullying and/ or harassment from a coworker or supervisor than men. It also revealed that women are 60% more likely to report it to HR than men and 20% more likely than men to experience and not report it.

Tina adds: “It will come as no surprise that the majority of women have experienced bullying and/or harassment at work, but it’s hugely upsetting to have it confirmed in the hard numbers. We all need to take a step back and ask ourselves why we assume this and then continue to treat it as if the status quo is okay. Clearly, we have an issue that needs to be addressed.”

When the data was split by seniority at work, it shows that the majority of people at the beginning of their careers say they have been bullied and/or harassed at work.

Yet junior workers are twice as likely to say they wouldn’t report it as a senior worker.

Whilst bullying and/ or harassment were reported equally across all levels of seniority, junior workers are twice as likely to say they wouldn’t report it as a senior worker and senior workers are more likely to report it to HR.

Tina says: “The data indicates that with career progression, more people feel safer reporting incidents of unwanted behaviour. But it highlights that there’s fear for junior workers, who may be worried about the repercussions reporting could have on their career. Often, in some professions, junior workers are subject to behaviour that isn’t necessarily appropriate and could be classed as bullying, and there could be a culture from senior workers that that’s how they were treated, perpetuating a belief that it’s acceptable behaviour.

“When looking at the data further, it shows that the main reason for not reporting across all levels of seniority was a belief that nothing would be done to address the issue. A stark warning for HR teams to up their approach to help cultivate an environment where this behaviour isn’t swept under the rug.

Read the full article here

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