Guide to Preventing & Responding to Bullying in the Workplace

Best Practice Guide

The extent of the workplace bullying problem

How widespread is workplace bullying? Systemic underreporting makes the precise figure difficult to determine; researchers at the University of South Australia qualify that only ten per cent of workers self-identify as victims of workplace bullying. Despite that, the remaining data suggests that bullying in the workplace is not just widespread but becoming ever more commonplace.

Indeed, Safe Work Australia revealed that the number of serious workplace injuries related to bullying and harassment nearly doubled over the course of the 2010s . International studies place Australia as the sixth-highest offender of workplace bullying, compared to the 31 European countries also measured.

These figures are troubling. For employers, specifically, they should come as a wake-up call. After all, workplace bullying erodes the bottom line.

By how much? A 2018 Productivity Commission report showed that workplace bullying costs the national economy up to AUD 36 billion every year.

Workplace bullying is one of the leading causes of work-related mental stress. That stress often contributes to decreased morale and productivity, higher turnover and early retirement payouts, as well as loss of reputation for firms when reports of bullying and harassment leak out.

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