Workplace Bullying Incidents Increase: ACAS

According to the employment consultation service, ACAS, incidents of workplace bullying have increased in the last year with many people being too afraid to speak up.

The report from ACAS warned that the rise in the number of people being affected in the workplace could also be costing the UK economy £18 million per annum.

Bullying in the Workplace: ACAS Report

In the last twelve months, the service received over 20,000 calls in regards to bullying and harassment in the workplace.

ACAS warned employers that they must do more to end bullying and harassment of employees with the group stating that businesses need to take the issue much more seriously and to improve anti-bullying policies to reduce the number of incidents seen in the workplace.

Chair of ACAS Sir Brendan Barber said that there was no doubt that bullying was on the rise in the UK and blamed poor management stating that employers not properly dealing with issues was the main reason for the increase. He said: "Callers to our helpline have experienced some horrific incidents around bullying that have included humiliation, ostracism, verbal and physical abuse.

"But managers sometimes dismiss accusations around bullying as simply personality or management-style clashes, whilst others may recognise the problem but lack the confidence or skills to deal with it."

Groups Frequently Targeted by Workplace Bullying

While bullying and harassment is on the rise according to the ACAS report, alarmingly, the report also showed that there were groups who were more likely to be targeted. The groups that were more likely to be the victim of bullying were:

  • Public sector ethnic minority workers
  • Women in traditionally male-dominated occupations
  • Workers with disabilities and health problems
  • Lesbian, gay and transgender employees

One of the major issues with bullying is that managers fail to properly deal with the bullying but rather move one of those involved to another team. As a result, this means that the issue is never fully solved and there is always underlying tension. According to ACAS, managers are often the bullies themselves with many forced to quit their job as a result of the abuse. (One in three according to a recent study)

In a separate report, the TUC said almost a third of people had been bullied at work, with women more likely to be victims.

A survey of 1,700 adults showed that 40 to 59-year-olds were most likely to be bullied, and in most cases the bully is a manager.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "There is no place for bullies in the modern workplace.

"Bullying causes stress and anxiety and can have long-term effects on victims' physical and mental health. No-one should have to leave their job because of bullying.

"If bullies are allowed to dominate a workplace, wider office morale and productivity suffers too. Employers must have a zero-tolerance policy.

"Too many are simply ignoring bullying behaviour and failing to support staff."

Legal Action: Bullying in the Workplace

If your life has been made a misery by bullying in the workplace, you could be entitled to take legal action. If you have been unfairly treated, overlooked for a promotion as a result of your gender or race or discriminated against you could be entitled to take legal action. Contact us today to find out if you could make a claim using our online contact form.


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