Women more likely to be victims of ‘quiet firing’

Women are more likely to be the victims of ‘quiet firing’ where they are effectively gaslighted to resign through subtle acts that make them not feel wanted or valued, such as being sidelined.

Stressed women at laptop


Women are more likely than men to be the victims of behaviour that makes they feel no longer wanted at work, forcing them to quit, according to a new survey.

The representative national survey of 2,475 people by law firm Irwin Mitchel calls this phenomenon ‘quiet firing’ and says it can have long-lasting consequences for an employee’s confidence, performance and livelihood.

It found that 28% of women have left their jobs after being made to feel uncomfortable at work [compared to 22% of men]; 23% of women have been actively ignored by their manager [compared to 19% of men]; 23% of women have purposely had information withheld from them [compared to 21% of men]; 13% of women said that communication stopped internally [versus 10% of men]; 14% of women said they have been left out of social aspects of the job [compared to 10% of men]; and 16% of women said they’ve been undermined in a meeting [compared to 15% of men].

Irwin Mitchell says this could bring claims for constructive dismissal or discrimination and it is trying to raise awareness of this. Its survey showed 90% of people didn’t know what ‘quiet firing’ was. Nevertheless, being made to feel uncomfortable by someone at work was the main reason women left their jobs.

The only areas where men ranked higher than women were ‘lack of feedback’ – 28% of men said they had experienced this versus 25% of women – and having their role changed without proper explanation or consultation [26% of men vs 25% of women].

Deborah Casale from Irwin Mitchell said: “There really is no excuse for treating employees in this way. If there is a problem with a member of staff, employers should deal with the issue rather than making the individual feel so uncomfortable or undervalued that they leave.

“The widespread knowledge gap among employees around quiet firing is concerning. This type of behaviour can form grounds for constructive dismissal if it breaches the implied term of trust and confidence in the employment relationship and the employee has more than two years of service. Employees should be aware of their legal rights in these situations and should take advice at an early stage to protect their position. Likewise, employers need to be aware of the dangers of quiet firing.

“If the employee is being discriminated against or is being treated badly because they have blown the whistle, there is no requirement for two years of service. There are strict time limits of three months less one day to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal, so employees need to understand their rights at the outset. Employees may also wish to submit grievances or negotiate a settlement to leave.”

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