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Over a third of people have suffered verbal abuse at work

REVEALED: Half (50%) of those who have experienced harassment didn’t report it to their employers

MORE THAN 1 in 3 workers (34%) have experienced verbal abuse at some point in their working lives, according to new TUC polling published today (Dec 6).

Among those who have experienced verbal abuse more recently than any other kind of harassment, more than a quarter (28%) said the perpetrator was a customer. And among 18-34 year-olds, that rises to a third (33%).

During the hectic Christmas shopping and party season, shop workers, bar and restaurant staff and hospital staff may be at particularly high risk.

The TUC/YouGov poll also found that:

- More than half of workers (51%) have experienced verbal abuse, bullying, sexual harassment and/or physical violence at some point in their working lives.

- Among those who have experienced verbal abuse, 63% have been targeted three times or more.

- Among those who have experienced assault or physical violence more recently than any other kind of harassment, a fifth (20%) said the perpetrator was a customer.

- Half (50%) of those who have experienced harassment didn’t report it to their employers.

The TUC is calling for a change in the law so that employers must protect their staff from harassment by patients, clients and customers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Lots of staff in shops, bars, restaurants and the NHS will be dreading the weeks ahead. Getting abused at work shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s Christmas.

“It’s not acceptable to shout at, threaten or harass workers, no matter how stressed you are about your shopping or how much you’ve had to drink.

“Employers must take a zero-tolerance approach to workplace harassment. If workers are abused by customers, they should know the boss will have their back. And the government should change the law to make employers properly protect public-facing workers.”

While harassment by third-parties affects workers of all ages, the TUC is concerned that younger workers may be disproportionately affected, since they’re more likely to work in public-facing caring sales and elementary roles, and more likely to be in insecure work without robust employment protections.

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