40 Percent of Employment Claims are Related to Bullying

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Two years of recession is causing stress in the work place

An employee might think they are being bullied whilst an employer might think they are merely managing that employee properly.

40% of all employment claims in 2009 were related to bullying and the number could become higher still as more claims feed through due to the stress caused by two years of severe recession, says Contact Law, the UK’s leading service for recommending local, quality-assured solicitors to consumers.

Contact Law, part of Thomson Reuters, says that out of the 14,130 enquiries it received from employees relating to employment in 2009, 5,652 were in part related to bullying.

Contact Law says that although employers have been aware about the problem for some time now, the difficulty of firstly defining bullying and then acting upon it effectively means that it continues to be a prevalent issue in the workplace. But with the deteriorating climate at work due to recession, Contact Law says that the incidence of bullying claims is likely to increase further.

Dan Watkins, Director of Contact Law: “It is rare for bullying to actually manifest itself in a physical act of aggression such as throwing around mobile phones and documents. Most of the time bullying will be verbal, indirect or symbolic, such as undermining a colleague in front of peers.”

“There is also a very fine line between what is defined as bullying or simply as a tough management style.”

“An employee might think they are being bullied whilst an employer might think they are merely managing that employee properly.”

“The reality is that this will vary according to everyone’s own perception at a given time. The subjective and emotive nature of the topic explains why there is such a difference in opinion as to whether the bullying exists or not.”

He adds: “Employers find it hard to prevent the problem arising because bullying is usually done in a subtle and repetitive way that may easily go unnoticed by the victim’s co-workers. Bullying actions taken individually can be difficult to spot.”

Contact Law says that as employees’ performance comes under tighter scrutiny and their workload and stress level increase as a result of economic pressures, there is a risk that the proportion of employees seeking grievances for bullying could grow even further.

Comments Dan Watkins: “Managers in all sectors have had the same instruction: deliver more with less. To implement that in an environment with low morale and overworked staff you will need acute interpersonal skills and social abilities to steer clear of trouble.”

Notes to Editor
Contact Law is the UK’s leading provider of client introductions to UK small and medium-sized solicitors firms. The business is based in London where its team of trained case handlers manage the introduction of thousands of client enquiries every month to its network of solicitors across the UK.

Thomson Reuters is the world’s leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, scientific, healthcare and media markets, powered by the world’s most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people in 93 countries. For more information, go to http://www.thomsonreuters.com.

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Nick Mattison or Fay Israsena
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