Australian employees are experiencing high incidents of workplace bullying, according to a survey from Drake International, a global recruitment firm.

The company studied the experience of employees to try and understand how they are affected by bullying in the workplace. Of the 800 who took part in the survey, 25 per cent reported being the victims of bulling while at work.

Half of the respondents to the survey also reported having witnessed bullying within the workplace, even if they had not been the direct victim of this behaviour themselves. The same number have also reported that bullying in the workplace is an ongoing problem, taking place over 6 months or longer.

Among those who have witnessed or experienced bullying at work, only 50 per cent have sought assistance in this situation, a worrying trend for firms looking to address this behaviour before it becomes a part of the company culture.

Drake WorkWise National Client Services Manager Judy Harper suggested that this was a concern for companies trying to address bullying in the workplace.

"Bullying is an identifiable psychological hazard in the workplace and therefore this is not just a conduct issue. Organisations need to do more – as a minimum they have a statutory duty of care to manage and control this inappropriate and damaging behaviour," said Ms Harper.

Companies also have a poor track record for addressing bullying within an organisation. Only 30 per cent of those who have been the victim of bullying and 50 per cent of those who have witnessed it were happy with the response that their company provided to the issue.

While these challenges are a real concern for business leaders, there are also moves to improve this arrangement. New anti-bullying legislation has come into force at the start of this year, raising the stakes for companies operating in this area.

To help you understand these changes, WorkPro has recently released an e-book on the topic, which will help to clarify the requirements firms have in this area.

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