More than one in five workers feel ‘bullied’ by their boss

More than one-fifth of workers admit to feeling bullied by their boss, despite ever-increasing legislation and guidance designed to tackle intimidation in the workplace, new research suggests.

A poll by HR consultancy Reabur has found that 21% of UK employees feel bullied by their boss and 28% feel picked on by a peer in the workplace.

But only 8% admit to reporting the incidents, although 24% tell a colleague about their experiences and almost three-quarters (73%) tell their spouse.

The study of more than 1,250 individuals also reveals that women are more likely to feel bullied at work, with 31% of the women surveyed admitting to having felt victimised in their workplace at some point, compared with just 17% of men.

The study also found that people feel more intimidated by men than women, with 19% of the respondents claiming to feel victimised by a male colleague compared with 14% that feel victimised by a female co-worker.

Georgina Read, co-managing director of, said: “The main issue with being bullied at work is that it is not taken seriously and people tend to think that the individual is over-reacting. All allegations should be taken seriously and investigated, as getting to the route of the problem will create a better workforce and office environment.

“It is encouraging that people are talking to fellow peers; however they should approach a senior team member or their human resources officer.”

Nearly half (48%) of respondents feel that they are bullied because of their appearance, while 41% thought the culprit was “intimidated by their abilities” and 29% said the bully was “jealous of their status within the office”.

A further 29% feel their manager dislikes them – 22% of those asked think their manager is “under qualified” for their role and 32% said their manager is “incompetent”.

Of the 21% of employees who admitted to feeling bullied, the survey found that more than half of them (57%) are actively seeking other employment and 37% “dread work” every day. More than one-third (36%) admitted their personal life is affected by their unhappiness at work.

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