The government has put £1m towards what is thought to be the biggest study of workplace bullying in the world.
Bullying is present in most organisations, Amicus says
Under the project, with a total cost of £1.8m, trade union Amicus will help firms to deal with the problem.
Staff will be offered advice and training to act as counsellors and investigators to identify bullying.
Amicus will also work with some of Britain's biggest employers to draw up guidance to help them.
Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt launched the project at a London conference organised by gay equality campaign group Stonewall.
"We must tackle discrimination from the cradle to the grave," she said.
"People's lives should not be made a misery by bigots fuelled by hate and ignorance.
"Bullying is a terrible issue with terrible consequences, whether it's because of people's sexuality, race, size or anything else.
"This represents a change in gear from government, business and the union movement on the issue."
Amicus spokesman Chris Ball said he expected reported cases of bullying to increase during the project as more people are encouraged to come forward, but then numbers would decrease.
"But people don't necessarily report it and indeed it is fair to say that the bully's greatest friend is the individual's silence," he told BBC Radio.
Mr Ball said "every single survey that has been done," either from academic sources or trade unions, showed that bullying is a problem.
"There is probably no organisation that has not got something of a problem of bullying.
"It is a devastating and hugely humiliating thing for individuals when they are experiencing it."
He said organisations needed to have "a culture that is ingrained... that says that bullying doesn't take place, we don't have it here, we're in favour of people being treated with dignity as human beings and we're going to move on from there."