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Why Don’t Employees Stand Up To Bullies?

Did you know over a third of people have been bullied at work? New research that was commissioned by Slater and Gordon Lawyers found 37% of those surveyed had been victims of bullying and 21% of workers have seen a colleague being subjected to abuse.

This means that nearly six in 10 people have either suffered from the actions of a bully at work or witnessed workplace bullying. If we apply this figure to the total number of people in work in the UK it would mean that almost 18 million Brits have experienced workplace bullying.

Yet despite so many people coming across bullying at work, most people do nothing about it.

Why Don’t Workers Stop Bullying at Work?

52% of people said they wouldn’t do anything to stop bullying at work. Amongst these people who didn’t speak up there were a number of common reasons why they didn’t take action. A quarter didn’t think it was their responsibility to do anything about it and, sadly, another quarter accepted bullying was a part of their workplace culture.

In 56% of cases bullying is disguised as ‘workplace banter’ and 68% of the time the bullying at work reported in this research was described as “subtle”.

12.5% of those who did nothing feared losing their job if they complained about bullying at work. Meanwhile, 20% feared being targeted by the bully if they were to report them.

The most common reason why people do not stop bullying at work, according to our research, was simply that they felt too awkward to say anything. Is this you? If so, you might like to read our Legal Advice Guide on Bullying and Harassment.


As Employment Law specialists Slater and Gordon Lawyers would recommend you to stand up and take action if you are being bullied at work. You could confront the bully to let them know that what they are doing is unacceptable. If you find it too scary to speak to them directly you could do it through your manager and if your manager is the bully you could go through your HR department.

The expert Employment Law Solicitors at Slater and Gordon Lawyers can help you to take action quickly if you are experiencing bullying at work. We can provide you with immediate legal representation anywhere in the UK. You can call us at any time 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9060 or contact us online and we will call you back at a time that suits you.

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