NEARLY half of the Irish workforce has experienced workplace bulling, with seven in 10 employees too frightened to report it.
According to a survey by Peninsula Ireland, the employment law consultancy, 44% of Irish employees have been a victim of workplace bullying of some kind during their career.
More than 70% of workers said if they were bullied they would not feel comfortable reporting any incidents to their employer.
Some 75% of those surveyed believe that reporting workplace bullying could have an adverse affect on their job security, with 68% saying they falsified absence by calling in sick to avoid being bullied at work.
The survey polled 764 Irish employees in person from a wide variety of industries between March 3 and 27.
Managing director of Peninsula Ireland Alan Price said employers need to be aware that bullying is alive and well in Irish workplaces.
“Many Irish employers are not aware that this is going on and so many employees are suffering in silence. Employees are mindful of reporting incidents as they don’t want to be seen as troublemakers. However, they need to be reporting incidents of bullying immediately so that it can be stamped out,” he said.
With the downturn in the economy, the Peninsula managing director pointed out the workplace has become an increasingly stressful environment which could lead to increased bullying.
“Employers need to take steps to climate this way of thinking and encourage employees to report any incidents immediately. It may well be that an employee feels bullied without the perpetrator knowing.”
“It is these types of situation where an open-door policy in relation to bullying is ideal as it can address the situation easily,” he said.
Mr Price said bullying in the workplace can affect productivity in the workplace.
“Irish employees that suffer in silence need to speak up; being bullied during the working day will have a detrimental effect on someone’s home life and will cause a drop in their workplace performance whether this is from low productivity or even taking days off sick to avoid the bullying,” he said
The Peninsula managing director also had advice for employers and said they should act immediately should they see signs of bullying.
“Employers should look for these types of tell-tale signs and act upon any findings. Taking a tough stance on bullying will discourage it from occurring in the workplace and leave employees to feel guarded against any abuse,” he said.
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