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£18billion lost as a result of workplace bullying

An employment expert is warning businesses to review their grievance policies, after a report revealed bullying related absences cost the economy an estimated £18billion every year.

A study carried out by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) helpline revealed 20,000 calls were received over the past year in relation to bullying.

Approximately 82 per cent of the calls came from employees, reporting harassment, verbal abuse and violence at work.

Chris Boyle, partner and head of the Employment team at Napthens solicitors, said problems escalate due to a lack of formal procedures within workplaces, meaning employees don’t feel confident enough to raise issues.

Chris said: “Bullying is an unpleasant and serious aspect of the workplace and can often happen as a result of personality clashes, or when managers fail to properly address matters.

“Should bullying occur, it’s important for employees to know there are adequate grievance procedures in place, so they can take action to resolve a situation. Employees need to feel they can report bullying as soon as an incident occurs and that they have full support of their employer.

“However, it’s crucial for businesses to ensure they have clear values and principles from the outset, to create a culture in which there is a zero tolerance policy towards bullying which can help to prevent incidents.”

Employment & HR - head of Employment & HR - Chris Boyle