Are you being bullied or harassed at work? If so, you’re not alone. According to Safe line, a registered charity that helps and supports sexual abuse survivors, workplace harassment is common and affects over half of women in the United Kingdom (UK).
A survey made by the Everyday Sexism Project and the Trades Union Congress revealed that 52% of over 1,500 women experienced unwanted sexual behaviours at work. In women aged 16 to 24, the percentage was higher (64%).
Equally disturbing is that managers or persons of authority perpetrated many incidents of workplace harassment in the same age group. Safe line said these incidents include unwanted touching, groping, kissing, or inappropriate jokes that were often excused as “harmless banter.”
Harassment at the workplace is any behaviour that is unwanted or offensive. This behaviour makes the person feel uncomfortable, scared or humiliated. This includes verbal harassment in sexual comments, jokes, photos; and physical harassment like touching a person’s back or breasts and kissing.
Safe line said workplace harassment could affect the mental and physical health of women. This is a form of unlawful discrimination.
While there are laws to protect women and make them feel safe at work, the sad truth is that only 1% of victims of harassment report these incidents. Safe line said the women surveyed didn’t complain because they were scared that doing so would affect their careers and working relationships. Others were ashamed or embarrassed to complain, while the rest believed that no one would listen or believe them.
However, workplace harassment isn’t the only problem faced by employees. Bullying is another.
In 2020, THIIS magazine reported that more than 70% of UK employees were bullied at work or witnessed it in the last three years. The study involved employees of 131 companies.
Of that number, 35% said they were victims of bullying in the workplace, which often took the form of too much work. Another 20% had witnessed workplace bullying or were victims of unfair treatment at work.
Spreading malicious rumours was named 16% as a common form of bullying in the workplace, while another 16% identified this as being ignored and excluding one’s contribution at work.
Bullying and harassment are similar because both hurt or harm another person emotionally or physically. The main distinction is that bullying victims often struggle to defend themselves, and the bully has more power in terms of social status, physical appearance and is more intimidating.
As in harassment, 46% of employees said they didn’t report bullying at work, while 33% said they would rather talk to the bully directly than raise the problem with management.
When dealing with bullying or harassment at work, it’s best to consult workplace harassment solicitors. The professional lawyers of Deo Volente (DV) in Bedford, UK, are trained to help victims deal with these problems. In addition, we offer personalized legal services that are tailored to your needs.
If talking to your manager or human resource department doesn’t work, you can take legal action against your employer since the company is liable if employees suffer from harassment.