Acas reveal workplace bullying is on the rise

workplace stress1
To coincide with Anti-Bullying Week, Acas, the advisory, conciliation and arbitration service has released a report highlighting a rise in workplace bullying.

Seeking better solutions: tackling bullying and ill-treatment in Britain’s workplaces analysed 20,000 calls to the Acas helpline in relation to bullying and harassment, with worrying results.

The report found that:
  • Incidents of bullying and ill-treatment was greater in public sectors rather than private or voluntary
  • Incidents relating to public sector ethnic minority workers, women in traditionally male roles, disabled employees and LGBT workers are more common
  • Those who were victims of workplace bullying often dread going into work, and it can affect their home and family life
  • Bullying sometimes resulted in both mental and physical health problems, with some even resulting in post-traumatic stress disorders or suicide
  • Those looking to report bullying often faced barriers and difficulties in instigating action

It also suggested that bullying comes in many forms including ‘being yelled at, eye-rolling, verbal abuse, being ‘talked down to’ in s humiliating way in front of colleagues, as well as more concerted patterns of ill-treatment such as ostracism’.

Sir Brendan Barber, the chair of Acas, said, “Our analysis reveals that bullying is on the rise in Britain and it is more likely to be found in organisations that have poor workplace climates, where this type of behaviour can become institutionalised.

He continued, “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.”

“Businesses should be taking workplace bullying very seriously as the annual economic impact of bullying-related absences, staff turnover and lost productivity is estimated to be almost £18 billion.”

The Acas report highlights that to change the situation, many organisations need to adopt official regulations and procedures. They also suggest that social attitudes need to change with an emphasis on feeling ‘empowered’ to talk about workplace bullying.

To find out more about your rights in the workplace, read our latest article here.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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