Age UK staff report says one in five respondents have suffered bullying, harassment or discrimination

Steph Harland, strategy and people director at Age UK, says she is surprised by the findings of an internal staff survey

Age UK
Age UK

More than one in five respondents to an Age UK staff survey say they have been bullied, harassed or discriminated against at the organisation.

According to an internal staff survey seen by Third Sector, published internally in October last year, 22 per cent of respondents said they had experienced either bullying, harassment and discrimination at the charity, or some combination of the three.

The survey drew responses from 922 people, or 41 per cent of the charity’s employees. The report says that experiences of bullying, discrimination and harassment seem "relatively high".

Overall, 14 per cent of respondents said they had been bullied, 9 per cent said they had been discriminated against and 7 per cent claimed they had been harassed. Respondents were able to give more than one answer.

Only 46 per cent of people who said they had experienced a problem reported it and only 51 per cent of those who did were satisfied with the outcome.

Nearly half – 46 per cent – of staff who said they had a disability that affects their work said they had experienced discrimination, bullying or harassment. About a third of non-white staff – 34 per cent – said they had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against.

However, the majority of staff – 72 per cent – said they thought Age UK was committed to equality of opportunity. Most thought it acted fairly in recruitment, career progression and pay, and thought managers and their colleagues knew how to behave appropriately.

The research was carried out for Age UK by the consultancy Critical Research.

Steph Harland, strategy and people director at Age UK, said: "We were pleased with many areas from the surveys, but we were surprised by other findings as they were not in line with other surveys and independent assessments we have done – particularly relating to staff perception of equality and diversity matters."

She said the charity had set up a working group to devise a policy to address the problems identified in the staff survey: "Treating people fairly and with dignity and respect is fundamental to Age UK’s values. Discrimination, victimisation or harassment on any grounds will not be tolerated and we would urge any staff member or volunteer who has any concerns to contact their manager and/or the people and performance division in confidence."

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