Survey reveals disturbing levels of unchecked workplace aggression


A survey commissioned by Australian wellbeing and safety company Sonder suggests employees are left unsupported after experiencing aggression from customers, colleagues and managers.

To: Workplace, Industrial Relations, HR and WHS editors and reporters.

Who: Sonder’s Medical Director and Specialist Physician, Dr Jamie Phillips.

When: Dr Jamie Phillips is available now for in-person or phone (live or pre-recorded) interviews.

What:  A Sonder-commissioned survey has uncovered widespread workplace aggression from customers, but also from colleagues and managers within organisations. Nearly one in two respondents reported receiving zero support after incidents of workplace aggression.

Key Points: 

  • Sonder commissioned McGregor Tan to survey 1,025 employees in Australia who were working a minimum of 20 hours per week. According to the survey, 62% of employees have experienced aggression from customers, 44% from colleagues, and 35% of employees have experienced aggression from their managers.
  • The statistics also suggest that employees who are victims of workplace aggression are not adequately supported. According to the survey, employees reported receiving no workplace support when confronted with aggressive behaviour by their customers (42%), their colleagues (41%), and their managers (48%).
  • The sobering survey further lifts the lid on a workforce in serious physical and psychological distress with 72% of employees reporting they are feeling or have felt depressed. Half of the respondents reported currently feeling or having felt bullied or harassed at work. A concerning 25% of employees confessed they are experiencing or have experienced thoughts of suicide.
  • Sonder’s Medical Director and Specialist Physician, Dr Jamie Phillips, said the survey is a signal of how much further organisations need to go in improving holistic wellbeing support for their people.
  • “These issues are real. Leaders need to take personal ownership of the distress that is occurring in the lives of the people under their watch. It is beholden on them to commit to providing safer and healthier workplaces for the people, employees and customers, under their care,” he said.
  • “It is imperative for organisational leaders to embrace their responsibility for wellbeing and have the courage to break existing conventions, challenge dogma and look at things through an evidence-based lens if they are to effect meaningful change and create healthier and more resilient organisations," he said.


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About Sonder: Sonder is a leading Australian wellbeing and safety company accredited by the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS). Our solution is a technology-driven platform supported by 24/7 safety, medical, and mental health experts. This is backed up by a physical responder network that can be onsite within 20 minutes for time-sensitive scenarios, plus a capability to deliver unique and timely data insights which drive meaningful business decisions.

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