HR departments should be mindful of the fact that vulnerable employees are not reporting bullying incidents because they fear for their jobs.

That is according to research conducted by employment law firm Peninsula, which revealed that although half of those questioned had been bullied in the workplace many were scared to report the incidents.

Peninsula’s managing director, Peter Done, said that victims should not suffer unnecessarily and warned employers that bullying "is a serious problem".

Commenting on the problem, Mr Done said: "Employees are mindful of reporting incidents of bullying as they don’t want to be seen as troublemakers.

"They should realise that reporting any type of bullying will have no effect on the status of their employment."

According to Dr Tony Byrne, co-founder of the Awareness Education Office, incidents of bullying have increased as a result of the economic downturn, the Irish Times reports.