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Finland Leads Europe in Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is more common in Finland than in other member states of the European Union, according to Finnish and European studies on conditions at work. One in five Finns report being harassed at work. Women are more likely to be victims than men. Olavi Parvikko of the occupational safety section of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says that Finns top European statistics in violence and workplace bullying. "The two go hand in hand to a large extent. This kind of a culture, or a culture poor treatment of others can emerge," Parvikko says. Finns fall victim to workplace harassment approximately twice as frequently as the European average. According to EU 27 statistics, countries that come after Finland in workplace harassment include the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, and France. The problem is significantly lower in the other Nordic countries. For instance, in Sweden, the figures are just one quarter of that of Finland. "Sweden has managed to improve the situation significantly, Finland, not at all," Parvikko laments. "In Sweden, there has been public debate about bullying for a long time. Still they have lower figures than Finland," says Anna-Maija Lehto of Statistics Finland. New Figures out by Year's End Statistics Finland is working on new Finnish figures, which are expected to be ready by Christmas. Initial data indicates that bullying is actually in the increase in Finland. Women are typically bullied by co-workers, while men tend to be harassed by bosses. Teachers, for instance, are sometimes harassed by their pupils. Harassment is seen as most typical in state and municipal workplaces where most of the employees are women. Professions include health care, social work and teaching. Especially prone to bullying are professions where there is high stress, frequent major changes and low job security. Parvikko notes that rules of good behaviour have been drafted at many work places to avoid harassment and bullying. Unfortunately, no decline in bullying has been noted yet.

Sources: YLE

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