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45% of Australians have experienced bullying at work due to their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability

Almost one half (45%) of Australian professionals have experienced bullying or harassment at work due to their gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability, according to a survey by Hays.

The survey of over 1,000 people across Australia and New Zealand found the figure rises to 64% of people living with a disclosed disability, 58% of people who identify as LGBTIQ+, 50 per cent of women and 50% of mature-age people. Although less men than women overall report bullying or harassment, at 37% it is still alarmingly high.

When asked what steps were taken to stop the bullying or harassment, 41% of respondents said none. A further 15% of those who experienced bullying and harassment chose to leave the organisation rather than report the behaviour.

Other respondents said they reported the issue to HR, a team leader, supervisor or manager and it was resolved promptly to their satisfaction. This often involved mediation or the appointment of an investigator.

Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand, said, “We chose to explore this issue through a diversity and inclusion lens since bullying and harassment cuts through many of the key diversity and inclusion considerations we have identified through talking to both employers and professionals.

“Measures range from the formal letter of the law, sanctions and workplace guides to day-to-day awareness of leaders and managers and the behaviours of all employees. However, given our findings, it seems that despite a growing awareness of the problem, more needs to be done to stop harassment and bullying at work – for all demographic groups.”

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