Creative Industries are hotspot for bullying
17 February 2014
The worlds of the media, arts and entertainment are often seen as glamorous, but a survey of 4,000 workers has revealed these industries are "hotspots" of bullying, with more than half of those questioned (56%) saying they had been bullied, harassed or discriminated against at work.
This statistic is compared to research in other industries such as the National Health Service and the education sector where research showed bullying reported at 20-25%.
People who contributed to a survey, commissioned by the Federation of Entertainment Unions, ranged from household names, top screenwriters and performers to those at the beginning of their careers.
The results showed shocking levels of ill-treatment and inappropriate behaviour and a culture of silence, with only a third of those suffering bullying and harassment reporting the incidents.
Eight out of 10 women (81%) responding to the survey said that their gender was a factor in the bullying, harassment and discrimination they suffered. The respondents reported incidents from lewd comments to sexual assault and commented on pressure from superiors to enter sexual relationships.
Bullying and harassment was recorded at all types of workplaces, including publically-funded national arts, music and media institutions in the UK and Ireland. For some, getting the job of their dreams became a nightmare because of the way they were treated by managers and colleagues. Managers were the main perpetrators; however, half the respondents identified co-workers and colleagues as offenders.
The survey showed that where bullying was reported, being a member of a union was more likely to lead to a successful outcome.
The report, called Creating Without Conflict, was launched at a conference on 19 November and led to the following recommendations:
- Better training should be provided for workers and management in dealing with unreasonable behaviour.
- Clear guidance is provided for freelances by employers.
- Union recognition in workplaces so that reps can negotiate anti-bullying policies and represent victims.
- Confidential hotlines for freelance and employed workers.
Equity’s General Secretary Christine Payne said:
“We often hear excuses that the demands of creating art and entertainment are such that a difficult and sometimes unsafe working environment is necessary. This is simply not the case. We do not believe working people should be made to suffer for their art and we need to draw a line in the sand. On one side is good management, motivation and leadership and on the other is harassment, bullying and abuse.”
One of the things proposed by Members at the conference was for Guidelines for freelance and permanent employees. These have now been approved by the FEU General Secretaries and are available for members.