What is workplace bullying?
Bullying happens when you are at work and an individual, or group of people, repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards you, and that behaviour creates a risk to your health and safety.
The key elements to remember are that the behaviour needs to be:
- done repeatedly
- and must impact your health and safety
Bullying can take the form of verbal, physical, psychological, or social abuse by an individual or group of people in the workplace.
- 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
Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.
The health and safety risk
Bullying can involve physical violence or otherwise subjecting you to a physical safety risk while you are at work.
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
Who is protected from workplace bullying?
All employees, in addition to students on work experience, contractors and subcontractors and volunteers, are protected from bullying under the law.
Order to Stop Bullying
If you have experienced workplace bullying, we can help.
We can represent you in the Fair Work Commission and apply for an Order to Stop Bullying.
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: February 2022