Nearly half of Dutch university employees face bullying, harassment at work: study

Sexual harassment
Sexual harassment . (Photo: thodonal/DepositPhotos)

Four in ten university employees in the Netherlands have been personally confronted with a socially unsafe working environment, according to a study by unions FNV and VAWO. They report facing bullying, abuse of power, humiliation, exclusion, and sexual harassment, for example. Half work in an apartment where the social working environment is unsafe, the researchers found, NU.nl reports.

Women in particular report negative experiences at work, though quite a few men also fall victim to such behavior. Most cases involve gossiping and the deliberate withholding of information. Intimidation or abuse of power are also often mentioned. 

Three quarters of respondents blame the problems on poor leadership. Mutual competition, because of the need to obtain research funding, is also mentioned as a probable cause. They also report problems with the hierarchy and a high workload. 

FNV and VAWO called the figures "shocking". They call for the establishment of an independent complaints committee and a special ombudsman for universities. 

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