Failure to tackle workplace bullying costs UK employers almost £14 billion a year in absence and lost productivity, new research shows.

According to the Unite union, 33.5 million working days were lost through absenteeism as a result of bullying at work last year as well as almost 100 million days worth of productivity.

The report also found that nearly 200,000 employees considered quitting their job because of bullying and harassment at work.

Cath Speight, acting head of equalities at Unite, said: "Workers who suffer from bullying and those who witness it experience low morale and are more likely to take time off or leave their jobs. Employers need to recognise this and take action to combat it."

Employers are urged to develop a "zero tolerance" approach to bullying, which Unite claims affects black, minority and ethnic workers in particular as they are more likely to become targets.

The TUC warns that by ignoring workplace bullying employers risk financial penalties and employment tribunals, as well as loss of reputation.