Abusive behaviour in the workplace, such as sexual and moral harassment, aggression and discrimination, appears to have increased considerably in just a year, notes a study released on Tuesday by the Securex human resources service provider. However, it remained to be seen whether such behaviour has become more prevalent or whether the way it is perceived has changed.
According to the survey, conducted among 1,500 workers, harassment has increased by 28%, moral harassment by 14% and discrimination by 13%.
Generally, 32% of Belgian wage-earners said they faced one or many forms of abusive behaviour at work, an 11% increase in one year. Some 21% said they had been subjected to aggression, 17% mentioned moral harassment, 16% said they had suffered discrimination and 5% felt they had been victims of undesired sexual behaviour.
However, high as these rates are, actual complaints have been very rare. “Fewer than one in 100 employees who feel they have been victims of abusive behaviour in the workplace will file a complaint with their prevention and protection service at work,” Securex reported. “The number of workers who say they have undergone such behaviour is increasing twice as fast as the number who actually file complaints with an external service.”
Whether the survey reflects real increases in abuses or changed perceptions remains to be seen. For Securex, the #Metoo movement is certainly not alien to the evolution on sexual harassment.
“Not only are people more sensitive to everything that has to do with sexual harassment, but they also dare to talk,” explained HR Research Expert Hermin Van Coillie.