Ruth Mitchell

Workplace bullies cost billions

Bullying at work is costing Britain’s businesses billions of pounds a year, it has been claimed. To coincide with yesterday’s 4th National Ban Bullying At Work Day, firms have been urged to do more to tackle the problem.

Lyn Witheridge, CEO of the Ban Bullying At Work campaign, said: “Bullying costs UK businesses £18bn a year and one in four people has experienced bullying in the workplace.”

Employment organisations and union leaders have also spoken out against workplace harrassment.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development said bullying and harassment were still “worryingly prevalent” in the workplace.

Diversity adviser Dianah Worman said: “Eliminating all forms of harassment and bullying makes good business sense. A workplace environment which is free from hostility enables people to contribute more effectively to organisational success and to achieve higher levels of job satisfaction. People cannot make their best contribution when under fear of harassment, bullying or abuse.”

A report by the insurance firm Royal & SunAlliance also found that bullying had become a “major cause” of stress for workers, leading to the loss of millions of days’ work.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “People on the receiving end of cutting remarks or verbal outbursts from the workplace bully are the ones paying a heavy price for employers’ failure to deal with the problem. “But employers pay the price as well. Staff being bullied are likely to take more time off because the harassment is making them ill and the low morale they suffer as a result almost always affects their ability to do their job, making them much less productive.”

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