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How To Stand Up To Workplace Bullies – Discrimination Claims

How to stand up to workplace bullies – Discrimination Claims

There is nothing worse than working with someone who is a bully, but experts say, sitting back and doing nothing is not the best option.

Writing for the HRM website, Karen Gately says workers can’t afford to sit back and wait for leaders or managers to do the right thing, and often it is the leader or manager who is the perpetrator of the misconduct.

“It is unquestionably the role of organisational leaders to create a work environment that is free of risks to health and safety,” Gately writes.

“That includes one in which women are able to go about their work without fear of sexual harassment or assault.

“We all need to speak up and take a stand against workplace harassment and bullying of any kind.”

To help, Gately offers these seven tips when you witness or experience inappropriate behaviour at work:

1. Take responsibility

Assume responsibility for not only your own health and well being, but also that of other people you work with.  Care when someone is being mistreated and make it your responsibility to take a stand.

2. Pick your battles

Let’s face it, some less than ideal behaviours can be glossed over.  However, others need to be strongly challenged. Never accept behaviours that are having a serious detrimental impact to you or others.  Sexual harassment and bullying fall into that category.

3. Speak up

Let people know how their behaviour impacts other people.  As tempting as it may be, staying silent is never a good choice when the well being of people is being undermined.  It can take a great deal of courage, but it’s critical that you find the strength to voice your concerns.

4. Be direct

Honesty is critical to building awareness and influencing the behaviour of a bully.  Clearly communicate what behaviour needs to stop and request that happen immediately.  Avoid lowering the standard of your own behaviour – don’t yourself become rude or aggressive.

5. Focus on tough love

In some instances, your ‘push back’ will help the perpetrator to understand their behaviour is wrong and harmful. That’s only likely to happen if you are honest about your concerns, but also deliver your feedback respectfully.

6. Ask for support

If you don’t feel comfortable or able to challenge a bully directly, ask for support from your manager, a colleague or HR.  It can be difficult, but it’s important you don’t leave bullying unaddressed for fear of confronting the issue.

7. Seek help externally

If you have no one to turn to at work, or if the organisation you work for does not take your complaints seriously, consider looking for help elsewhere.  One option is to lodge an application for an order to stop workplace bullying with The Fair Work Commission.


Industrial advocate Miles Heffernan from Discrimination Claims said no one should have to experience bullying or harassment in modern Australian workplaces.

“This sort of conduct is unlawful, and it shouldn’t happen,” he said.

“Everyone has a right to a safe workplace, so if you are experiencing this sort of behaviour, know that there is help and support available and you don’t have to put up with it.”


If you have experienced sexual harassment or workplace discrimination, you may be entitled to compensation.

Please call our team at Discrimination Claims today on 1300 853 837.

For more information about sexual harassment, click here.

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