Black, minority and ethnic workers are most likely to be the target of workplace bullying

See also: Stop workplace bullying

Employers' failure to tackle the root causes of bullying in the workplace is costing the UK economy almost £14bn a year, said Unite.

According to the research, black, minority and ethnic workers are the most likely to be targets of workplace bullying and harassment and less likely to have a support network to help them through the experience.

Research by the union estimated that around 33.5m jobs were lost by UK organisations in 2007 as a result of bullying-related absenteeism. Almost 200,000 employees considered leaving their jobs and the equivalent of 100m days in productivity were lost as a result of bullying.

Cath Speight, Unite acting head of equalities said: ‘Employers can no longer be in any doubt about the business case for tackling bullying. It has a devastating impact on individuals, but businesses suffer too. Workers who suffer from bullying, and those who witness it, experience low morale and are more likely to take time off or leave their jobs.’

“Employers who choose to ignore bullying do so at huge costs to society.

Baroness Ann Gibson, Chair of the Dignity at Work Project

A second report in partnership with the University of Bradford is calling upon employers to improve anti-bullying activities in their workplaces.

The report's main author, Dr Sabir Giga from the University of Bradford, said: ‘Bullying is impacting on black minority ethnic workers' job satisfaction, promotion opportunities and health. Employers must develop a zero tolerance to bullying so that all workers are treated with dignity and respect.’

The partnership project has published guidelines to help employers seeking to tackle workplace bullying.

Baroness Ann Gibson, Chair of the Dignity at Work Project, said: ‘Employers who choose to ignore bullying do so at huge costs to society.’