UnionsWA has commented on the release by SafeWork Australia of its results of a survey of workplace bullying in Australia and WA. The study has found that 9.2% of working West Australians reported having been bullied during the previous six months in 2014-15, almost double from 5.0% in 2010.
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA said:
“This study shows that workplace bullying is a growing problem in Australia and particularly so in WA.
“The Productivity Commission estimated the cost of workplace bullying at $36 billion a year.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe, whether at work, home or in the community.
“Management, unions and the workforce as a whole needing to come together to address factors workforce culture and practices.
“Financial pressures associated with worsening unemployment and underemployment, poor mental health at a time when services are struggling to cope, are factors.
“While bullying in the defence forces has received some attention, many may be surprised to realise that high rates of workplace bullying were also found in health and community services – often from clients – in government administration and in electricity, gas and water supply industries.
“Violence in workplaces such as schools have been on the increase and we simply cannot accept that workers being abused in their workplace is the new normal.
“The most common forms of harassment reported were yelling and swearing at co-workers (37.2 per cent); being humiliated in front of others (23.2 per cent) and being physically assaulted or threatened by patients or clients (21.8 per cent).
“When bullied at work, women were found to be more likely to be the subject of unwanted sexual advances, sexism and, because women are more likely to work in caring jobs, physical assault or threats from a patient or client.
“Men were more likely to be sworn or yelled at in the workplace, including regarding race.”
‘Bullying and Harassment in Australian Workplaces: Results from the Australian Workplace Barometer 2014/15’ (November 2016) can be viewed here.