By Dr Lindsay McMillan

A pilot study of the Australian hospitality industry has found casual workers “put up and shut up” about workplace bullying, because they are afraid of losing their jobs. 

Professor Michael Quinlan from UNSW Business School found employees with insecure, casual employment were under increased pressure to tolerate bullying because they needed the work. 

Workplace bullying is a major concern, with one in ten workers having experienced verbal abuse or bullying in 2016.

Bullying has a devastating effect on the mental health of victims especially if their claims are being dismissed by senior management.

However, this new study has found that many casual employees are not even getting to the point of telling their managers.

It is the responsibility of business leaders to create healthy workplace cultures and to not treat casual workers as ‘second-class citizens’. 

Business leaders need to build workplace cultures that encourage everyone to speak out against bullying, otherwise they will end up with systemic turnover issues and seemingly no reason for it.

The casualisation of the workforce means more people have less job security, and that makes people afraid of making mistakes or ‘stepping out of line’, because they feel expendable.

Regardless of what contract an employee has with an organisation, they need to be afforded an opportunity to have a meaningful and purposeful experience at work.

Casualisation of work is one of seven overarching trends affecting the Australian work landscape according to Reventure’s latest research report, Renewing Australian Workplaces.

In 2012, the Productivity Commission estimated the cost of workplace bullying to the economy as being between $6 billion and $36 billion annually.