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Violence and harassment at work in the US ‘almost always a pattern’, study finds

CREDIT - iStock/dusanpetkovic

CREDIT - iStock/dusanpetkovic

Global report finds 41% of people in US have experienced workplace violence and harassment in their working lifetime, above the 21% global average.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, February 6, 2023 / -- Violence and harassment in the American workplace is rife, after a global safety charity report found that 41% of people have experienced it in their working lifetime – significantly above the global average of 21%.

The new report, Safe at Work? Global experiences of violence and harassment, based on Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s World Risk Poll, powered by Gallup, also found that 71% of Americans who have experienced workplace violence and harassment say this has happened three or more times.

While the report suggests that men are fractionally more likely to report having experienced violence and harassment at work at a global level (22% vs 20% of women), the most vulnerable sub-groups, as identified by the report, are mostly comprised of women.

In contrast to the global trend, almost half (49% vs 21% globally) of women in the US working in their native country have experienced violence and harassment at work. This is a rate higher than the one third (38% vs 30% globally) of migrant women in the USA who have experienced this in the workplace. Also higher than the global trend, half of women with a tertiary education reported experiences of violence and harassment at work, compared with the worldwide average of 29%. 65% of American women with primary education reported the same experiences, starkly higher than the global rate which sits at 15%.

Globally, those already affected by discrimination outside of work – for instance gender, ethnicity or disability-based – are twice as likely to experience violence and harassment in the workplace (39% compared to 16%). In the US, almost four in five (78%) of those who had experienced discrimination on the basis of nationality or ethnic group had faced a form of violence and harassment at work.

Suzanne Maybud, an international consultant on gender equality and women’s advancement in the workplace, commented: “While many are aware of violence and harassment in the workplace, the country-specific figures, provided by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, are especially valuable to showcase just how widespread it can be in any given location – and who’s most at risk.

“While certain groups, including university-educated women, showed higher rates of violence and harassment in the workplace, it’s important to remember other vulnerable groups may not feel as empowered to report it, meaning the actual figures could be even higher.

“There’s almost always a pattern to it. That’s why an inclusive, zero-tolerance approach to labour laws must be taken by policymakers. This will enable those suffering from violence or harassment in the workplace to feel comfortable enough to report it – with the knowledge that there will be real consequences for the perpetuators. By taking a strong stance, lawmakers have a real opportunity to engineer cultural change that can then trickle down to the company level and protect all workers.”

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, added: “The World Risk Poll provides the first global and comparable measure of violence and harassment in the workplace, information which is critical to support serious and targeted action to tackle the issue in countries around the world.

“While some of the countries and groups that report the highest levels of experience may at first glance be surprising, this granular data helps us to understand both where interventions are needed to address a recognised problem, and where further work may be required to raise awareness and encourage greater reporting.”

To compile the global report, 125,000 people across 121 countries were polled about their experiences of workplace violence and harassment. All those interviewed were given a comprehensive definition of ‘violence and harassment’.

To download a copy of the report, visit the world risk poll website. Data from USA can be found in this country snapshot.


About the World Risk Poll

The Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll is the first global study of worry about, and harm from, risks to people’s safety.

This is the second edition of the Poll, based on around 125,000 interviews conducted by Gallup in 121 countries during 2021. This is down from 142 countries in the 2019 Poll due to Covid-19 related restrictions (for the full list of countries included in the 2021 Poll, see Appendix 3 of the report). Where possible, interviews were conducted via telephone.

The data includes places where little or no official data on safety and risk exists, and so constitutes a unique resource for defining the nature and scale of safety challenges across the world, as reported first-hand by those who experience them.

This intelligence can and should be used by governments, regulators, businesses, NGOs and international bodies to inform and target policies and interventions that make people safer, working in partnership with and empowering communities.

To find out more about the World Risk Poll, go to

About Lloyd’s Register Foundation

Lloyd’s Register Foundation is an independent global safety charity that supports research, innovation, and education to make the world a safer place. Its mission is to use the best evidence and insight, such as the World Risk Poll, to help the global community focus on tackling the world’s most pressing safety and risk challenges.

For more information about Lloyd’s Register Foundation, visit

Lloyd's Register Foundation
World Risk Poll
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