Leaders themselves are most often the cause of an unsafe working environment. Trade union FNV received 370 reports in just a few weeks on an unsafe working atmosphere in the media and culture industry in the Netherlands. The FNV hotline was launched in early December 2022, which was a first. The union found out that many employees believe that the working atmosphere in the last 12 months has been unsafe. 47 percent of the reports that FNV got concern bullying. 38 percent for intimidation, from name-calling to threats.
One in five reporters indicate that they have seen, heard, or experienced discrimination in the workplace. Sexual violence is mentioned in 15 percent of the reports; for women, this is 19 percent. One report concerns physical aggression. On top of that, in more than half of the reports, the leader was the cause of the unacceptable behavior. 66 percent of the reporters even indicate that the leader was the one who intimidated.
Of those who indicate that they have experienced bullying, harassment, or other forms of inappropriate behavior in the past 12 months, a third indicates that it affects functioning. In 12 percent of those cases, it leads to sick leave. In 1 in 10 reports, it is indicated that after an incident, the organization or the leader demands that people keep quiet about it. FNV sees a clear over-representation of people with a temporary contract in those reports. Their weaker position equals more abuse.
In short, this is why I focus on working with the individuals instead of the leaders who should show so-called exemplary behavior, and support culture change. I believe in empowering people no matter what.