Research reveals starting bullying rates
Over one in three Australian worker believe they have been bullied in the workplace, according to new research released by law firm Slater & Gordon.
The independently commissioned survey of over 1,000 Australians aged 18 and up found that 34 per cent of respondents said that they had been bullied in the workplace.
The figure was even higher among Victorian respondents at 37 per cent, second only behind Western Australia, where 38 per cent surveyed said they had been victims of workplace bullying. Queensland was also above the national average, with 35 per cent responding that they had been bullied while NSW was below the national average on 31 per cent.
Nationally, female workers were most likely to believe they had been bullied (35 per cent) compared to their male colleagues (33 per cent).
Co-workers were the most common culprits, responsible for 53 per cent of bullying cases, followed by managers (47 per cent) supervisors (36 per cent) and business owners (16 per cent).
Slater & Gordon lawyer, Meghan Hoare, said that it was critical for employers and employees to view workplace bullying in the same way as any other workplace safety issue.
The impacts of workplace bullying can be devastating to a person's self esteem and enjoyment of work and can also lead to serious health issues and long-term psychological injuries," Ms Hoare said.
However, she said it was important that workers distinguished between one-off incidents or performance management activities and workplace bullying, which is characterised by persistent and repeated negative behaviour directed at an employee that creates a risk to health and safety.
Ms Hoare said the firm regularly encountered clients who sought help after suffering the damaging impacts of bullying at work.
Spreading gossip was perceived as the most common form of workplace bullying (51 per cent), while age, gender, race or religion related abuse (31 per cent) accounted for the second larges slice of the bullying pie.
Less common forms of workplace bullying included physical violence, or threats of violence (10 per cent), and weight discrimination (4 per cent). Of those who believed they had been bullied, more than one in ten (12 per cent) said they had been sexually harassed at work.