Employers in Ireland are being urged to do more to prevent ill-treatment of workers after a study revealed that the issue is more wide spread than previously realised.
The Irish Workplace Behaviour Study was commissioned by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health, and conducted by researchers from the National University of Ireland Galway, along with the universities of Limerick and Plymouth.
It found that:
- 43% of respondents reported having experienced ill-treatment, while 47% said they had witnessed it and 17% stated they had perpetrated it,
- 37% reported having experienced unreasonable management, 42% stated they had witnessed it and 14% stated they had perpetrated it,
- 31.3% reported having experienced incivility or disrespect, 38% said they had witnessed it and 9.5% stated they had perpetrated it, and
- 2.6% reported having experienced physical violence, 5% said they had witnessed it and 0.5% stated they had perpetrated it.
The study also revealed that some workers believe reporting an issue would not help and could even worsen their situation. They believed middle managers were either unable or unwilling to act on complaints, or that policies were too complicated.
Advice for Employers
Employers are ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of their staff while at work and it is important that policies are in place setting out what is and is not acceptable behaviour in the workplace. These policies should be reviewed regularly to ensure they are kept up-to-date and all employees and managers should be made aware of their content. Policies should always be applied consistently to reduce any risk of accusations of bias or discrimination.
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