Bullying and harassment is overlooked say staff

A quarter of employees believe that harassment is still being swept under the carpet.

This finding emerges from a CIPD report based on two, large-scale surveys of employers and staff. It shows that 15% of workers have experienced bullying in the last three years, while 4% say they’ve been sexually harassed at work and 8% have experienced other forms of harassment.

The report, Managing Conflict in the Modern Workplace, highlights the ‘critical importance’ of line management in both causing and preventing bullying and harassment at work. Four in 10 (40%) of those who’ve been bullied or harassed say their manager was responsible, while a third (34%) of employers said one of the top barriers to effective conflict management is that managers don’t have the confidence to challenge inappropriate behaviour. Only two fifths (40%) of line managers say they have had people management training, leading the CIPD to urge organisations to properly train them, including how they prevent and tackle conflict.

The report does find evidence that recent sexual harassment scandals and the Me Too movement have had a positive impact. For example, a third of workers (33%) say they are more confident challenging sexual harassment than they were two years ago.

The CIPD has produced a guide for managers on how to deal with conflict in their teams.