June 14, 2006

Bullies continue assault - Some recent and old surveys & figures

Bullies continue assault on world of work - Employers' LawThis article first appeared in Employers' Law magazine.

Workplace bullying is becoming a global problem that is more prevalent in larger organisations, despite the proliferation of anti-harassment policies.

A major global study of more than 1,800 HR and finance professionals has revealed that one in four work in an office where bullying has taken place.

In the UK, around 24% of respondents reported bullying in the workplace, despite the fact that 86% had anti-bullying policies.

According to the survey, bullying is far more common in firms with more than 100 staff, with 27% suffering, compared with only 19% of staff in smaller companies.

Despite a recent strengthening of harassment laws and a plethora of high-profile employment tribunals, more than a third of firms still don't have policies to deal with workplace bullying.

The survey by recruitment consultants Robert Half covered 11 nations and identified The Netherlands (39% of employees bullied) and Germany (38%) as the worst offenders.

Employers in Ireland fared well, with 98% providing a confidential system for their employees to talk about bullying or harassment.

Phil Sheridan, who commissioned the research for Robert Half, urged HR professionals to take a more proactive stance. www.roberthalf.co.uk


A quick search in Google for 'Phil Sheridan research bullying', brings up a summary of the report in pdf format, titled 'Robert Half Finance & Accounting Calls on Employers to Address Workplace Bullying', dated 16 February 2006.

Another quick search in Google for 'Phil Sheridan research bullying', brings up 'Employers urged to tackle workplace bullying' from the 'Manchesteronline - Jobs & career news stories'. Here, in addition to the figures from Phil Sheridan there is a concluding statement from Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary:

'This report shows that bullying is as rife as ever in the UK. It reinforces TUC research which shows that around two million people have been bullied at work in the past six months, usually by a manager.

Management must start taking this problem seriously as it lead to the loss of around 18 million days a year. But more important is the social cost to those whose lives can be ruined by workplace bullying.

All employers should have policies in place to tackle bullying. In addition it is clear that existing laws are not enough and we need a dignity at work act to protect workers from this kind of treatment.'

While in Manchester we decided to visit http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk// and a search for 'bullying' brings up:

'Work bullies costing business millions - Monday 7 November 2005

BULLIES are costing businesses 18 million working days a year. A new study has found victims take time off sick because their employers are unable to deal with the problem.

In fact the TUC survey discovered managers and supervisors are the worst perpetrators...

Separate research carried out by UNISON/ACAS found 49 per cent of middle managers have also suffered from bullying, most commonly at the hands of their own bosses.'

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