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Employees need more support in dealing with harassment

Recent research has found that employees feel they do not get sufficient support and guidance from their employers in dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The study, by Canada Life Group Insurance, found that 64% of employees feel they have been left without official advice or support on how to handle sexism in the workplace, while only 45% have received guidance on dealing with racism. Both of these issues have the potential to escalate into extremely damaging litigation for employers, while causing significant stress for employees.

Similarly, 70% of employees do not know their employer’s official procedure for dealing with unwanted sexual advances from colleagues – with women more likely to feel unsure (73%) than men (64%).

Employers not only risk exposing themselves to employee complaints by failing to communicate official practice and procedures on dealing with problems at work, but may find that staff are less motivated. Twenty-seven per cent feel as though they are not getting the support they need, while 18% believe that their employer does not care about their welfare. Just under a fifth (19%) feel as though their employer doesn’t listen to their opinions. Women are more likely to feel unsupported by their employer than men (29% vs. 22%).

Paul Avis, Sales and Marketing Director at Canada Life Group Insurance commented:

“It is extremely worrying that so many employees are unsure of how to deal with serious problems in the workplace. These issues are not only upsetting and stressful for employees, meaning that they may try to avoid them by calling in sick, but could escalate into potential legal action. Employers should ensure that they communicate with employees about how to handle such problems, in order that they feel supported while at work.”

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