Spiritan priest Dr Tony Byrne said the Awareness Education Office, a collaborative ministry of the Holy Ghost Fathers and the Presentation Sisters, was experiencing a “huge increase” in calls for help in relation to workplace bullying.
“It is unbelievable how many people are calling for help. We deal with suicide prevention and so look at all forms of bullying, but in recent times problems in the workplace have far surpassed others.”
Dr Byrne said with increasing pressure on organisations to reduce costs and increase profits, it seemed employers were taking advantage of the recession to exploit vulnerable employees. During times of economic downturn people are more fearful of losing their jobs and less certain about finding alternative employment. This opens the door for workplace bullying,” he said.
“Corporate bullying may take the form of undermining the role and contribution of certain individuals, groups or departments in the workplace when the organisation is attempting to increase profits and it can unwittingly denigrate those essential services within the organisation that are not obvious profit-making areas.”
Dr Byrne said many people did not even realise they were being bullied, but now more than ever it was important that they seek help.
Earlier this year a survey by Peninsula Ireland found nearly half the Irish workforce has experienced workplace bullying, with seven in 10 employees too frightened to report it. It found 44% of employees have been victims of workplace bullying in their careers.