Bullying causes misery across Europe

2006

Fed up with feeling harassed and intimidated at work? If a new poll is to be believed, then move to the Netherlands for an abuse-free work environment. But avoid working in Hungary at all costs.

It's not just long working hours, repetitive tasks and long meetings that get us down. According to a new poll by Monster.com, a disturbingly high proportion of worker across Europe feel that they singled-out, humiliated and intimidated at work.

In the UK, for example, two-thirds of the 3,500 employees surveyed claim to have been bullied at work. Women in the UK also seem to face more workplace harassment than men, with over 35 per cent suffering, often in silence, from abuse in the office compared to 32 per cent of men.

Only one in five (21 per cent) of British men (737 votes) and little more than one in 10 women (12 per cent) said that they had never experienced workplace bullying.

However the situation is even worse in Hungary, which topped of the list three-quarters of workers saying they have suffered from bullying in the office.

In contrast, the Netherlands stands out as the safest country for an abuse-free work environment, with almost three-quarters (73 per cent) of respondents claiming they had not dealt with any form of bullying.

A third of Dutch men also claimed that their work place is the most non-abusive amongst all regions, a belief that is also mirrored in the findings for women.

The Monster Poll also found that while women tend to suffer marginally more from bullying (31 per cent of women compared to 29 per cent of men), bullying at work is not biased towards one gender over another.

Across Europe, Irish women suffer the greatest amount of bullying, with over 45 per cent claiming that they have suffered from office abuse. On the other hand, men in Germany face the greatest back-hand of bullying with 38 per cent, whilst both Italian and Swiss men come in a close second (36 per cent).

The issue of bullying is often dismissed in the workplace. However, recent research from the TUC in November 2005 reported that two million Britons had been bullied at work during the last six months and UK businesses lose 18 million working days a year as a result.

"Employers are responsible for a worker's health, safety and welfare while at work and should provide an atmosphere where people can get on with their job," said Alan Townsend, Chief Operating Officer, Monster UK and Ireland.

"All companies should ensure they have clear policies and procedures for employees that are followed through by management. This can then prevent potentially dangerous outcomes such as poor workplace morale, lost productivity, litigation and health costs."

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I have been worked with the Dutch (Insurance) client. I am from India & my colleagues were Dutch. Before joining to this Dutch project I had a very good idea about the Dutch people. I thought that in Europe transparency (in terms of recognition & respect for inviduals) at work place is more as compare to India. But once I joined the project I found that there is a little difference in the workplace when I compare with India. In a meeting full with my Dutch counterparts I noticed that suddenly they start laughing on me because I asked a question(technical) they were not in mood to listen this. It was really surprising for me. Later they asked for the apology by stating that they didn't laugh on me but laugh on some other issue. What an irony!!! Later in several cases I found that if I suggest anything they thought I tried to find out the fault of them. It was really a surprising thing for me. In any Netherland govt. site I found that it has been projected that Dutch people are very direct, but my personal experience proves me wrong. My Dutch colleagues were also complaining about Germans & others. I do ‘no why I found that French complains about Dutch & Dutch complains about Germans & others. Before joining this project I had a very good feeling about the work & the people of Holland. I thought that I will get the rationale work environment which is not always there in India but my experience proved me wrong. I also found the Dutch people (not all) are open to discuss any matter in open mind rather they also do pretend like Indians do. They also do not consider non Dutch people equally. Especially they think all Indians are the Indians what has been depicted in the movie slum dog millionaire. I am really in a deep shock, trying to recover myself from this shock.

Anoymous India