The untold story of witnesses of workplace harassment
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Julia Shaw |
• December 2019
What does it mean to be an accidental activist? A year ago, psychological and memory scientist at UCL, Dr Julia Shaw, came to TEDxLondon to tell us how organisations can better tackle workplace harassment by providing effective reporting tools and training. Now, she’s back, having conducted one of the largest studies ever on witnesses of harassment and discrimination - a story which, until now, has remained largely untold. While most of us believe that we would be active bystanders, when we witness cases of harassment and bullying, the majority of us do nothing. Why? Fear of consequences or retaliation, a lack of support, not knowing how to report and even the stigma around being a ‘snitch’. Yet, qualitative analysis revealed that witnesses suffer profoundly negative consequences, with an increase in stress and anxiety, and often a desire to leave the organisation. Julia’s research reveals how organisations can become better allies by showcasing their commitment to transparency, introducing a way for witnesses to report incidents safely and providing management training.