3 minutes reading time (504 words)

Workplace Bullying in the Financial Industry

A recent poll conducted by the Financial Times has found that 66% of financial professionals have encountered workplace bullying. Another research also highlighted a 44% increase in the UK employment tribunal claims referencing allegations of bullying in the previous year. 

In response to this, Caroline Walker, managing director of Cavendish Employment Law, was asked for her comments on these findings. 

When asked about her initial reaction to the findings, she stated that

“I have known a number of employees in financial services who have been subjected to bullying or harassment in the workplace and unlike other sectors there is often a reluctance to report it. This is because 32% of finance sector workers found would not report a case of bullying if inflicted by a senior colleague due to fear of penalisation or professional repercussions. Unlike a number of other industries, the senior members have a great deal of influence over the careers of other employees, which in the wrong hands can lead to an unchecked ability to subject that employee to unlawful bullying, safe in the knowledge that the individual is unlikely to jeopardise their career by launching a formal complaint against them.“

The FCA has recently released a consultation to address workplace bullying. Caroline was asked whether she thinks it will have a positive impact on improving the situation. 

“The financial services sector is highly regulated and the Financial Conduct Authority published a consultation paper last month that, among other things, outlined new proposals for financial services firms. The regulator said the proposals aim to encourage firms to take “decisive and appropriate action” against employees who engage in workplace misconduct.  

Importantly,  it stated in decisive terms that it could deny appointments to senior managers who were deemed to be bullies or harassers and would consider such conduct both inside and outside the workplace. This is extremely powerful as it will potentially mean that the individual would be deemed unfit for a regulated role, and will provide much-needed protection for the employees in this sector.

Caroline was later asked about the steps employees should take if they experience workplace bullying. 

"It can be challenging to identify workplace bullying by virtue of the fact that it is often subjective and can take subtle forms that can be difficult to evidence. There can also be quite understandable concern on the part of the employee that they may not be supported, or may be viewed as a trouble-maker, which could have a further detrimental effect on their career.

There is however progress being seen in this area, with Speak Up campaigns in most businesses, allowing anonymous or specific concerns to be raised about individuals and a change in attitude towards the conduct."

Read the full article to hear more about the effects of workplace bullying and the steps employees can take to overcome it.

At Cavendish Employment Law Limited, we are specialists in employment law and have won many high-value claims for senior employees and executives. Get in contact with us today for immediate expert advice.

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