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Workplace Bullying

Workplace Bullying

When you’re bullied or mistreated at the workplace, that is not acceptable and should not be tolerated.

This section explains what bullying looks like in the workplace.

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying can come in many forms, but are usually repeated and unreasonable behaviour that is offensive, intimidating, nasty or insulting towards one or more employee, and creates a health and safety risk. It can also be an abuse of power that undermines, humiliates or injures a worker.

What are some examples of bullying in the workplace?

  • Spreading nasty rumours;
  • Invasion of privacy;
  • Showing someone’s private emails;
  • Physical intimidation;
  • Overbearing supervision or giving excessive work or tasks;
  • Threats to job security;
  • Abusive and humiliating language and tone;
  • Discrimination or different treatment;
  • Exclusion, victimisation or unfair treatment;
  • Lack of reasonable support.

What can I do about bullying in the workplace?

It can be difficult to resolve bullying anywhere. Fortunately, in the workplace, the law is clear that the responsibility rests with employers to stop it from happening. It is common and expected that workplaces will have policies and procedures in place to deal with workplace bullying and all employees should be told about what these processes involve. If you are (or a co-worker is) being bullied, it is a good idea to keep a diary of the incidents. Be as specific as possible and let the employer know as soon as possible, so they’re able to resolve the issues.

What steps should I take to complain about workplace bullying?

  1. Talk to your employer and tell them what’s happening and how you feel about the situation. Find out what they plan to do next.
  2. Follow up with a formal letter outlining what was discussed and any proposed solutions. This will be needed if the issue remains unresolved.
  3. If your employer is unable to resolve the issue, you may want to take further action yourself. The main solution is formally complaining about the problem to your employer. This is known as making a personal grievance.

Contact YouthLaw or your local community law centre for some advice.

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