More than one in five employees have been bullied at work at least once during the past year.
This is one of the main findings of a survey of more than 3,500 staff in the UK by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, and if consistent would mean 1.5 million workers suffered some form of bullying at work last year.
The study also reveals that almost one in 10 employees report they have been bullied on several occasions, while 2 per cent say they have been bullied six or more times in the past year.
Patrick Gilbert, head of organisational research and effectiveness at Mercer, said: "At first glance, these numbers appear to be relatively low, but when extrapolated to the UK workforce, we are talking about vast amounts of people. These findings indicate that well over 1.5 million workers could be the victims of repeated bullying at work."
Bullying isn't confined simply to employees lower down the organisational hierarchy. The study finds that 24 per cent of middle managers and 17 per cent of senior managers said they had been bullied at least once in the past year.
Gilbert said: "The high rate of bullying among managers is a particular area of concern. If managers are the victims of bullying, they are more likely to bully the people they manage. The high rate of bullying across all organisational levels indicates how entrenched this dysfunctional practice is in UK organisations."
There are few differences in the rate of bullying reported across age groups or size of organisation.
The study also finds that men and women are equally likely to report that they have been bullied during the past year.
By Ross Wigham