New data released on Tuesday by the Australian Workers Union (AWU) indicates that nearly half of Australian workers have encountered bullying, harassment, or workplace discrimination, which are common contributors to mental health issues.
According to the AWU study, approximately 49.87% of the over 1,200 surveyed workers had reported problems related to workplace relationships, including instances of bullying and discrimination. The study included workers from various industries including manufacturing, mining, construction, health, and community services.
The report includes a distressing account in which a manager bullied employees to the extent that one worker even wrote a suicide note, mentioning the manager's name. The bullying was relentless, and even when upper management became aware of it, no action was taken, leading to the worker having to leave their employment to protect their mental health.
An astonishing 31% of survey respondents reported experiencing a mental health injury in the past year. The AWU anticipates that one-third of workers' compensation claims by 2029 will be linked to mental health issues.
In 2020, the Committee for Economic Development of Australia's Productivity Commission estimated that psychological and psychosocial injuries cost the Australian economy $12.2 billion and $39.9 billion per year, respectively.
Workplace bullying, low recognition and reward, poor organisational justice, and inadequate support and resources were identified as contributing factors to poor mental health.
The AWU has stressed the importance of employers assuming responsibility for psychological hazards in the workplace, proactively addressing workplace bullying and related issues, and underscored the significant influence of workplace conditions on employees' mental well-being, considering the considerable time individuals spend at work.