Workplace bullying costs the Australian economy $36 billion per year. This is equivalent to the country’s combined gross profits from petroleum and gold exports.
There are over 2,000 workplace bullying claims accepted by the Fair Work Commission each year in Australia.
According to the Australian Workplace Barometer, the percentage of workers who experience bullying is two or three times higher than international rates.
Bullying and workplace harassment have affected many Australian workers:
- 1 in 2 workers has witnessed some form of bullying at work
- 1 in 3 workers have been sworn at or yelled at while at work
- 1 in 4 have been humiliated publicly
- 1 in 4 have felt discomfort due to sexual humour
- 1 in 10 have experienced unfair treatment due to gender
- 1 in 15 have experienced negative comments regarding ethnic or racial background
- 1 in 15 have been physically assaulted or threatened by a co-worker, supervisor or manager
- 1 in 20 have experienced unwanted sexual advances
In nearly ½ of cases, the bullying behaviour has gone on for more than a year.
Women are three times as likely to experience bullying at work than men.
Over 70% of the perpetrators of workplace bullying are deemed to be managers.
Yet managers are often shielded from repercussions, and the definition of fair management action is unclear to many.
This may be one reason why 1 in 5 do not have faith in the complaint process, no matter what the process looks like.
The average direct cost to an employer who incurs a workplace bullying claim is about $20,000 per case.
Indirect costs to the employer and employee include significant time lost. The total time lost due to harassment or workplace bullying averages 8 ½ weeks.
If a “stop bullying” order is breached, costly penalties could follow for each breach:
- $10,200 to an individual
- $51,00 to a corporation