Psychotherapist Alison Fox, who worked in Jersey for five years, said that 50 per cent of her client contacts in the past year were from Islanders, despite her moving to Dorset after leaving the Jersey Community Relations Trust.
Ms Fox, who set up the Dorset Anti-Bullying Service which takes cases from Jersey, is raising awareness of the issue of workplace harassment during Anti-Bullying Week.
She said that Jersey had a ‘massive issue’ with the problem.
‘In the last 12 months we have had 149 complaints, 75 of which came from Jersey. I know how much of an issue it is in the Island after working for the Jersey Community Relations Trust,’ she said.
‘There’s a whole range of professions where we used to receive complaints – the most were from healthcare and education. Other sectors included retail, financial services, hospitality and agriculture.’
She added: ‘It can be a range of issues. Sometimes it’s being shouted out or something offensive in that way. Sometimes it can be physical abuse, but that’s usually only among under-18s.
‘There’s also not being allowed to go for promotion or being withheld from opportunities. People can also be excluded from things such as emails, so that they do not see information which they need to do their jobs. There’s also talking behind their backs and gossip.’
Ms Fox said that she thought the Island environment contributed to Jersey’s problems with bullying.
‘I think that it’s a very competitive place because there are limited opportunities available,’ she said.
‘If you are working in a particular sector and you want to go elsewhere you don’t have the option to move. If you are in Dorset, for example, you could move to Hampshire. In the Channel Islands it is much more difficult to do that.’
She added that there were a number of steps that people should take, if they felt they were being bullied or harassed at work.
‘The first thing I say is for people to make someone aware of how they feel because often they can be unaware of what their behaviour,’ she said.
‘If you tell somebody and they continue doing it, then they are doing it intentionally. You should also keep a log of instances of bullying. You can then log a formal grievance and then as a last resort you can go to an employment tribunal.’
She added: ‘It is also about building people’s resilience and making them able to deal with the situation they are in.
‘Bullying can have very negative psychological effects and people will also need help dealing with the stress and anxiety that it causes them.’