According to new survey results from public sector union, Unison, one in three women say they are bullied at work.
Results revealed that 66% of respondents bullied in the last six months say it is ongoing and that the most common bully is an older woman in a more senior professional position. The most common bullying behaviours include excessive work monitoring and criticism; isolation / exclusion; intimidation; unrealistic targets; public humiliation and insulting jokes; malicious rumours; and withholding information needed to get the job done.
The majority of the bullied women said they suffer from anger, mental stress, depression, lowered confidence and insomnia.
Around 80% of respondents said that they wanted bullying legislation put in place, to make it as serious as harassment. Of the respondents, 73% knew their employer had a bullying policy at work, but 65% say it has not been enforced and many said it had not been reviewed since 2000 or earlier.
Unison is now launching a ‘Bully Busters’ campaign with women’s magazine, Company. The Bully Busters campaign is calling for the Government to revise the current Dignity in the Workplace bill to include an anti-bullying policy, which is enforced by employers.
Dave Prentis, UNISON’s General Secretary, said:
“This shocking survey shows that the bullying and harassment of young women in the workplace is spiralling out of control.
“More women are working now than ever before, yet one in three young women are victimised and suffer in silence. Many people do not realise that a drip feed of bullying behaviour can be as devastating as a major incident.
“Serious mental and physical illness is a common result for those being bullied and this can have a damaging effect on these women for the rest of their lives.
“Our research has shown that bullying is accepted in many organisations – we need to change this attitude now.
“The recession has surely added to this problem and the cost to employers, to cover absence and replace trained staff, makes it clear that tackling bullying makes economic sense.”
Workplace Law Network’s Bullying and harassment factsheet advises employers to:
* Ensure that a formal statement or policy exists and is supported by senior management.
* Issue a clear statement that bullying and harassment is totally unacceptable.
* Investigate alleged incidents thoroughly and immediately.
* Provide access to counselling and advice for recipients, where practicable, or consider giving time off for these activities.
* Make appropriate use of grievance and disciplinary procedures, or introduce a harassment procedure.
* Train your managers to increase knowledge and awareness.