Around 70 per cent of young workers experience bullying, harassment: Unions ACT

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Research from Unions ACT has found around 70 per cent of young workers in the Australian Capital Territory have experienced bullying and harassment.

The Safety in ACT Workplaces for Young Workers report involved surveys of 15 to 25 year olds taken between January-February 2017 and found 70 per cent felt bullied or harassed.

It also found that 78 per cent of those who felt bullied or harassed were female.

The report highlighted that unsafe workplaces were common for young workers under the age of 18, despite more laws in the ACT designed to safeguard child employees.

“From their very first job, thousands of young workers are facing unsafe working conditions, bullying and sexual harassment,” Unions ACT secretary Alex White said.

“Our research shows that many young peoples’ first experience as a worker is of serious risks, injuries, threats and intimidation, and unlawful behaviour by employers.”

The report found apprentices and trainees experienced serious workplace accidents almost double the rate for rest of the workforce. This is enhanced by research from the ACT Government earlier this year, that found three construction apprentices a month sustain serious injuries.

White added that many young people entered the workforce without knowing their rights to safe work.

“It is unacceptable for employers of young people to put them in unsafe conditions, or to break workplace safety laws,” he said.

“It is even more unacceptable that some employers treat young workers as easy targets for exploitation.”

The report also highlighted that respondents who were aware of their rights felt afraid to speak up or complain, for fear of being dismissed.