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A study by conciliation service ACAS has revealed that there has been an increase in the amount of bullying and harassment seen in UK workplaces in the last year.
According to ACAS, they have received more than 20,000 phone calls in the last year regarding bullying in the workplace with many workers suffering purely as a result of the bullying and pressure in the workplace.
The firm released a consultation paper on its findings regarding workers and bullying in the UK and called for business to improve their HR departments and other areas of work to prevent bullying from occurring the in the workplace.
The chair of ACAS, Sir Brendan Barber, said that there was no doubt that bullying was “on the rise” in the UK and added that there were many reasons for such incidents such as poor management or simply personality clashes.
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, while others may recognise the problem but lack the confidence or skills to deal with it."
The consultation regarding harassment in the workplace from ACAS stated that many employers simply did not have the right expertise to manage harassment in the workplace, with managers often choosing to move staff around rather than investigate any of the reports of bullying or harassment. There were calls from ACAS and other organisations to have clear structures in place to tackle bullying with the TUC insisting that companies should have a “zero tolerance policy” regarding workplace bullying.
The consultation showed opinion from many experts including Shainaz Firfiray, who serves as the assistant professor of organisation and human resource management at Warwick Business School. He said: "Although bullying takes place at all levels within the workplace, the most common perpetrators are managers.
"This type of bullying often arises due to an unequal balance of power, with managers attempting to control the behaviour of their subordinates through coercive methods.”
Sadly, harassment occurs in a number of workplaces and can affect almost anyone. Alarmingly, however, the recent data from ACAS found that there were some groups who were more likely to be affected by workplace bullying and discrimination.
The report found that ethnic workers in the public sector, women in traditionally male-dominated occupations, workers with disabilities and health problems and lesbian, gay and transgender employees were far more likely to be the victim of workplace bullying that others. Your employer has a duty of care to ensure your workplace is a stress-free, safe environment. If your employer has failed in their duty of care, you can take legal action.
If you have been mistreated in your workplace as a result of your gender, age, sexual orientation or due to a disability, our team of expert solicitors can help. Get in touch with our expert employment lawyers today using our online contact form.