Bullying can have long-term physical, social and psychological effects on victims. What’s more, those who are bullied are likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.

We all know that bullying is wrong, but shocking new research from PrinterLand has revealed that it is rife in workplaces across the UK.

According to the survey, a staggering three quarters (75%) of Brits have witnessed bullying in the workplace. This included threatening behaviour or interference, such as work sabotage.

Even more worryingly, two thirds of respondents admitted participating in some form of workplace bullying. Among the confessions were gossiping, name calling, and taking credit for someone else’s work.

What is workplace bullying?

To understand if bullying is happening in your office, you need to know what constitutes workplace bullying. Smallbusiness.co.uk defines it as “mistreatment in the form of humiliating and intimidating conduct”.

Meanwhile, Gov.UK goes a step further, giving examples of workplace bullying and harassment including:

● Spreading malicious rumours
● Unfair treatment
● Picking on someone
● Regularly undermining a competent worker
● Denying someone training or promotion opportunities

This can happen face-to-face, over the phone, or via email or letter.

What does the law say?

As Gov.UK notes, bullying itself isn’t illegal but harassment was made unlawful under the Equality Act 2010.

Harassment refers to unwanted behaviour relating to:

● Age
● Sex
● Disability
● Gender (including gender reassignment)
● Marriage and civil partnership
● Pregnancy and maternity
● Race
● Religion or belief
● Sexual orientation

What can you do?

The research revealed that the negative culture created through workplace bullying has left one in five dreading going into work. It is impossible for businesses and individuals to thrive in such negative working environments.

As employers, you have a legal obligation to prevent workplace bullying and harassment. In fact, you will be liable for any harassment suffered by employees. However, you also have a moral obligation to ensure that your office environment is one where everyone feels welcome and included.

You should also ensure that all members of staff feel they can come to you with any concerns, either about themselves or about colleagues.

Intelligent office design is one way to promote inclusivity and teamwork and create a welcoming culture. Speak to the experts at Kerr to find out how.

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