Voice of the Employee

One in six people have changed jobs after experiencing “uncomfortable or inappropriate” behaviour in the workplace, a new study has found.

A survey of 1,000 workers showed that just over half had witnessed, or been asked to do things which caused them unease.

The charity A Blueprint for Better Business said its research revealed that junior members of staff were most likely to carry out tasks they were not comfortable with.

Chief executive Charles Wookey said: “Feeling uncomfortable at work can often arise from a perceived lack of fairness or respect for people, such as following an instruction to squeeze a vulnerable supplier unfairly exploiting their weaker position, or finding ourselves lacking the courage to speak up when a colleague makes an inappropriate comment or blatantly ignores someone’s valuable contribution.

“Sometimes it’s what we are asked to do, other times it’s what we witness or overhear which makes us uneasy. These poll results demonstrate a worrying feature of business life, and show that we all need to do much more to help each other to feel empowered in calling out decisions or behaviour that make us uncomfortable.

“The best businesses know that fairness and respect lie at the heart of long term success.”

The report said it was clear many people felt uneasy about “leaving their ethics at the door” when they go to work.

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