skip to Main Content

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:

  • threats
  • humiliation
  • shouting
  • sarcasm
  • intimidation and coercion
  • singling out or ostracism
  • innuendo
  • rumour-mongering
  • disrespect and mocking
  • discrimination
  • 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.

To connect with us, please follow us on


LAST UPDATED: April 2022

Back To Top