What is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying can have a devastating effect on victims, but not many people understand what constitutes bullying.
A worker if bullied if:
- a person, or group of people, repeatedly act unreasonably towards them or a group of workers; and
- that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.
Unreasonable behaviour includes victimisation, humiliation, intimidation or threats.
The key factors are that the behaviour has to be repeated, unreasonable and it must create a risk to health and safety.
The health and safety risk
Bullying can involve physical violence or otherwise subjecting a worker to a physical safety risk at their workplace.
However, bullying can also cause psychological and stress-related risks to health and safety.
If you are a worker who is suffering stress due to bullying, it might help to have a diagnosis from a GP or psychologist to show the health and safety risk that could arise from continued bullying.
If you are experiencing physical threats or violence, you should contact the police.
If you are experiencing psychological distress, including anxiety or depression, contact your GP or psychologist – or you can call one of these services for support.
Lifeline 13 11 14
1800RESPECT 1800 737 732
QLife 1800 184 527
Beyond Blue 1300 223 636
MensLine Australia 1300 789 978
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
Examples of bullying behaviour
Examples of bullying can include:
- intimidation and coercion
- singling out or ostracism
- disrespect and mocking
- exclusion from work events
- unreasonable work expectations, including too little or too much work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level
Reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable way is not bullying.
Order to Stop Bullying
If you are experiencing workplace bullying, our team of employment lawyers and industrial advocates can help.
We can apply for a formal Order to Stop Bullying in the Fair Work Commission.
Please be aware, the Commission only has powers to make anti-bullying orders – it does not have the power to order any monetary compensation.
An order to stop bullying is designed to get you back working in a bullying-free environment as quickly as possible, in addition to removing future bullying risk.
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LAST UPDATED: April 2022