Workplace bullying worse in regional Qld, research shows
A QUEENSLAND lawyer has issued a warning to employers after new research found more than one in three workers believed they had experienced workplace bullying.
National law firm Slater & Gordon recently commissioned independent research to survey more than 1000 Australians aged 18-plus, with 34% of respondents stating they had been bullied at work.
The figure was even higher in regional Queensland, where 39% surveyed said they had been victims of workplace bullying, compared to 31% in metropolitan areas.
Slater & Gordon lawyer Karen Simpson said it was important that employers and employees in the Gladstone region viewed workplace bullying in the same way as any other workplace safety issue.
About 27,000 people make up the local workforce, according to the latest ABS figures.
"Bullying can have a devastating impact on a person's self esteem and enjoyment of work, and when not dealt with can result in a workplace injury and health issues for workers," Ms Simpson said.
However, Ms Simpson said it was important that workers knew the difference between workplace bullying, performance management activities and one-off incidences.
"What is notable about workplace bullying is the sustained or repeated negative behaviour that can impact on a worker's health and happiness - something employers shouldn't overlook," she said.
The research found females in Queensland were more likely to believe they had been have been the victims of workplace bullying (36%) than their male colleagues (34%).
Nationally, co-workers were the most common culprits, responsible for 53% of bullying cases, followed by managers (47%), supervisors (36%) and business owners (16%). (Respondents were able to nominate multiple culprits).
The most common bullying behaviour reported was being spoken to in a hostile, derogatory or condescending manner (72%).
Other commonly-reported perceived workplace bullying behaviours included:
- Being blamed for others' mistakes (60%)
- Others stealing credit for your work (60%)
- Spreading gossip or false or malicious rumours (51%)
- Abuse based on gender, race, sexuality or religion (31%)
Less common forms of workplace bullying included physical violence or threats of violence (10%) and weight discrimination (4%).
Of those who believed they had been bullied, more than one in 10 said they had been sexually harassed at work.