Cyber-bullying is becoming increasingly common in the UK workplace, according to a new government survey in conjunction with trade union Unite.
A fifth of respondents said that they have been bullied by email in their current or previous jobs, and six per cent have been bullied via text message.
Almost nine per cent of respondents believe that cyber-bullying is a problem in their current organisation.
The survey forms part of the Dignity at Work Partnership, an anti-bullying initiative jointly funded by Unite, formerly Amicus, and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, formerly the DTI.
The increased use of communications tools such as BlackBerrys is also making cyber-bullying a problem outside working hours, according to 13 per cent of respondents.
Workplace bullying is estimated to cost UK employers more than £2bn a year in sick pay, staff turnover and loss of production.
"Bullying in the workplace can destroy people's lives," said Mandy Telford, Dignity at Work coordinator at Unite.
"It also has a direct impact on an organisation's bottom line, and we hope that making the financial impact clear will help management and HR build a business case for tackling the issue."
The survey found that many employees do not know what to do if they experience bullying at work.
While almost half would go to senior management and a quarter to their HR department and/or union, six per cent of workers are likely to take revenge on the bully.
Almost 10 per cent indicated that they would do nothing, and four per cent w ould simply leave their job.
The extent of cyber-bullying varies significantly by sector. The survey found it to be more prevalent in sales, media and marketing and telecoms, while bullying in retail environments remains primarily face-to-face.
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