A study of the Australian hospitality industry has found casual workers are fearful of reporting bullying to their bosses because they are afraid of losing their jobs. With more an more people entering casual jobs, and as traditional workplace roles change, this is a significant concern.
Dr Lindsay McMillan, lead researcher of global HR think-tank Reventure said workplace bullying is a major concern, with one in ten workers having experienced verbal abuse or bullying in 2016.
“Bullying has a devastating effect on the mental health of victims especially if their claims are being dismissed by senior management,”he said.
I worked in my fair share of casual jobs going through school and uni, and now, as a freelancer I’m basically a causal worker, albeit under my own company structure. So, I can empathise with how many workers feel. The casualisation of the workforce means more people have less job security and that makes people afraid of making mistakes or stepping out of line because they feel expendable.
Bullying can take many forms. It’s not just about physical or overt psychological abuse. When permanent or full-time staff “pull rank” over equally or better qualified causal staff, relegating them to menial tasks, it can have a detrimental effect on workplace morale and self-esteem.
Dr McMillan said it’s the responsibility of business leaders to create healthy workplace cultures and to not treat casual workers as “second-class citizens”. The means creating an environment where everyone is valued and where it’s OK to speak out against bullying.
The issue is significant with the Productivity Commission estimating the cost of workplace bullying to the economy as being between $6 billion and $36 billion annually in a 2012 study.