Report into ill treatment in the workplace

According to a produced by the Cardiff University and the British Economic and
Social Research Council half of British workers have been ill-treated in the
last two years.

The survey found 4.9% of workers were victims of violence while 22.3% said they
were treated in a disrespectful or rude way. 27% said they felt ignored. Forty
per cent of employees experience incivility or disrespect over a two year

Managers and supervisors are the most important source of incivility and
disrespect but more of this kind of ill-treatment is meted out by co-workers,
and by customers and clients.

Employees with disabilities or long-term health problems, younger employees and
lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) employees are all more likely to experience
ill-treatment at work holding other factors constant. LGB employees are far
more likely to experience workplace violence.

Contrary to received wisdom, it is not always the weakest employees who are on
the receiving end of ill-treatment. For example, permanent staff with
managerial responsibilities are more likely to experience both unreasonable
treatment and workplace violence. Better-paid employees are more likely to
experience unreasonable treatment. Trade union members are more likely to
experience violence and injury.

Certain sizes and types of workplace are also shown to have greater levels of
ill-treatment. Workplaces with more than 250 employees have a smaller risk of
violence. Workers in the public sector are particularly at risk of both
incivility and disrespect and violence and injury. Within the public sector,
employees in health and social care, public administration and defence, and
education are particularly at risk.

The report suggests some solutions which might minimise workplace ill-treatment
using the evidence from case studies and from front-line practitioners. The
report has implications for workplace policies (on equalities and sickness
absence for example) as well as training and intervention strategies,
particularly for managers and supervisors. The report shows that:

  • conventional methods for preventing illtreatment do not appear to be working

  • interventions to deal with ill-treatment after the fact need to be more flexible

  • getting to grips with ill-treatment means mandating fairness and respect throughout the management structure, building this mandate into routine processes and providing the resources and training needed to make it a success

  • the proper management of sickness and absence policies can make a vital contribution to minimising ill-treatment.

More information - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work