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New SHRM Research Highlights Urgent Need for Workplace Civility with U.S. Workers Facing Millions of Acts of Incivility Per Day

Alexandria, VA – SHRM, the trusted authority on all things work, unveiled concerning research regarding the prevalence of incivility in the American workplace and everyday life, with workers collectively experiencing or witnessing millions of acts of incivility per day. The findings, drawn from SHRM’s Civility Index, paint a stark picture of the challenges facing employees nationwide today.

According to SHRM research, U.S. workers scored a 42.3 out of 100 on the Civility Index when asked about incivility they experienced or witnessed in their everyday lives (i.e., both in and out of work) over the past month.

Trailing right behind this number, U.S. workers scored an average 37.5 out of 100 on the index when asked about incivility while at work over the past month. Both scores fall in Zone 3 of the Civility Index, which indicates the need for workplace leaders to take action.


The Civility Index score of 42.3 out of 100 for workers’ everyday lives results in workers experiencing or witnessing an average of more than 171 million acts of incivility per day in the past month. The score of 37.5 out of 100 results in workers experiencing or witnessing an average of more than 67.5 million acts of incivility at work per day over the past month.

Like the temperature rising on a thermometer, the research projects U.S. workers will experience or witness over 24 billion acts or instances of incivility at work in total for 2024.

Commenting on the findings, Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, President and CEO, SHRM emphasized, "The prevalence of workplace incivility highlighted in our study demands immediate attention. Not only does it impact employee morale and productivity, but it also poses significant risks to organizational culture and employee well-being. We need to reintroduce civility back into the workforce to prevent these outcomes."

Despite the pivotal role of managers and supervisors in addressing workplace dynamics, the research indicates a worrying lack of confidence in their ability to manage incivility.

Additional key findings include:

  • Only 25% of U.S. workers believe managers effectively address acts of incivility.
    • 31% perceive respectful treatment as the norm in their workplace.
  • Nearly two-thirds of U.S. workers agree or strongly agree that incivility reduces productivity.
    • 59% agree or strongly agree that incivility causes employee morale decline.

An uncivil act is described as discourteous or impolite behavior, which can range from talking down to or ignoring a co-worker to using intimidating communication like yelling, berating, or repeatedly interrupting another person.

There are also recent posts on social media of viral videos including these types of behaviors such as a customer and service worker disagreeing over how an order was handled, or an airline passenger and a worker arguing at the airport.

As the nation grapples with the implications of these findings, it is evident concerted efforts are required to foster a culture of respect and civility within workplaces. By prioritizing empathy, communication, and conflict resolution, organizations can create environments where employees feel valued and supported.



A sample of 1,611 U.S.-based workers was surveyed between March 6 to March 13, 2024 using a third-party online panel. For the purposes of this study, participants were required to be employed by an organization. Those who were self-employed, retired, or are an independent contractor did not qualify to participate. Data is weighted to reflect the U.S. working population as of January 2024 on the basis of gender, race/ethnicity, age, full-time/part-time status, and location based on U.S. Census division.

Citation: SHRM Q1 Civility Index, April 2024

About SHRM

SHRM is a member-driven catalyst for creating better workplaces where people and businesses thrive together. As the trusted authority on all things work, SHRM is the foremost expert, researcher, advocate, and thought leader on issues and innovations impacting today’s evolving workplaces.  With nearly 340,000 members in 180 countries, SHRM touches the lives of more than 362 million workers and their families globally. Discover more at


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