Nearly Half of Workers Feel Bullied On the Job, Finds Study
PR Newswire

45 per cent of workers have felt bullied at their job

1 in 4 who have felt bullied have left a job because of bullying

TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- From the playground to the classroom, bullies are everywhere – even the workplace. A new study reveals that 45 per cent of Canadians feel they have been bullied in the workplace, with bosses being the most frequent tormenters.

The nationwide survey was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of from May 13 to June 6, 2014 and included more than 400 workers across industries and company sizes.

Of those who have been bullied, more than a quarter (26 per cent) have left a job because they felt bullied, yet the same number say they feel bullied in their current position (26 per cent).

"Our results showed that, despite the prevalence of workplace bullying, many workers do not come forward to report it, and many of those who do feel their complaints aren't heard," says Mark Bania, Director of CareerBuilder Canada. "Workers should feel comfortable coming forward if they feel they are being bullied, and employers should take these complaints seriously, as they can lead to larger problems that affect not just the individual employee, but the entire organization."

Defining "Bullying"

From intimidation to insults, bullying occurs in many forms. When asked how they felt bullied, workers gave the following responses:

  • They were falsely accused of making mistakes: 54 per cent
  • They were ignored – their comments were dismissed or not acknowledged: 51 per cent
  • The boss or co-workers constantly criticized them: 37 per cent
  • Different standards or policies applied to them that didn't apply to others: 35 per cent
  • They were the topic of office gossip: 35 per cent
  • Co-workers made belittling comments about them during meetings: 32 per cent
  • The boss yelled at them in front of other co-workers: 24 per cent
  • Others purposely excluded them from projects or meetings: 21 per cent
  • Others picked on them for personal attributes (e.g. race, gender, appearance): 16 per cent
  • Someone stole credit for their work: 15 per cent

Of those who felt bullied at work, at least 2 in 5 (43 per cent) say it was more than a one-time incident.

Identifying the Office Bully

When it comes to the biggest workplace bullies, those who have felt bullied at work say bosses are number one tyrants (49 per cent), followed closely by co-workers (47 per cent). Thirty-two per cent of workplace bully victims say a customer was the culprit, and 23 per cent felt victimized by a higher-up at the company other than their boss.

Half of office bullying victims said their bullies were older than them (50 per cent), and 3 in 10 (28 per cent) said their bullies were younger. Nearly 1 in 5 (22 per cent) were bullied by people their own age.

To Tell or Not to Tell

When it comes to reporting the problem, the majority of office workers chose to keep silent. Only 44 per cent of workplace bully victims reported the problem to HR, and half of those workers said no action was taken to relieve the situation (54 per cent).  

More than half of those who say they were bullied decided to take matters into their own hands (55 per cent) – to varying results. Twenty-six per cent of workers said the bullying stopped when they confronted their tormenter; however, nearly the same number (28 per cent) also confronted their bully only to see the bullying continue, and another 2 per cent said the bullying got even worse. 

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online within Canada by Harris Poll on behalf of among 422 Canadian employees (employed full-time; not self-employed; non-government) ages 18 and over between May 13 and June 6, 2014 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). With a pure probability sample of 422 one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results among Canadian employees have a sampling error of +/-4.77 percentage points. Sampling error for data from sub-samples is higher and varies.

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Media Contact

Mary Lorenz
+1 773-527-3613

SOURCE Career Builder, Inc.