Our findings: inclusion
Within the questionnaire there was a direct question relating to the basis of the bullying and whether it was related to legally-protected characteristics.
Respondents were able to reflect across all protected characteristics and other factors affecting their experiences of bullying.
Experience of bullying by protected characteristic
- 25% of respondents felt they were being bullied because of a protected characteristic
- Many of the comments included references to treatment whilst pregnant or returning from maternity leave, for example jobs changing completely and workstation removed
- Bullying due to race and ethnic background was very low in this research but reflects the respondent profile
- While not a protected characteristic, 2% of respondents felt they were being targeted as a function of class – specifically being working class, for example perpetrators referencing ‘good schools’ and individuals feeling that there was an ‘old boys’ network, or that they were targeted because they didn’t have a posh school background and degree ‘like them’
- Other behaviours described harassment related to weight, appearance and different working patterns, for example being targeted for working part-time rather than full-time
- Respondents frequently felt they were perceived as a threat and this was an underlying reason or a trigger for bullying, for example if they were more experienced than others they were likely to be bullied or if they were challenging the current organisational norms and power bases
- There were examples where more than one characteristic affected the bullying situation, the most common combination being young and female