Workplace Bullying

Workplace Bullying


Are you a victim of workplace bullying? WE CAN HELP!

From 1 January 2014, workers can apply to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop bullying at work from continuing. We can stand up for you and fight for your rights in this type of application.

Workplace BullyingWhat is Workplace Bullying?

Bullying occurs when:

  • a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work; and
  • the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner.

Some examples of bullying behaviour can include:

  • aggressive or intimidating conduct
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • spreading malicious rumours
  • teasing, practical jokes or ‘initiation ceremonies’
  • exclusion from work-related events
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level
  • displaying offensive material
  • pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner.

Reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner does not constitute bullying.

Reasonable management action can include:

  • performance management processes
  • disciplinary action for misconduct
  • informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance or inappropriate work behaviour
  • directing a worker to perform duties in keeping with their job
  • maintaining reasonable workplace goals and standards.

Any reasonable management actions must be conducted in a reasonable manner. If not, they could still be bullying.

If I am being bullied at work, what should I do?

We encourage you to try to resolve the issues at work internally, if it is possible and safe to do so. If your workplace has a policy/procedure regarding bullying, we encourage you to follow the policy and report the bullying via those mechanisms. Often policies will direct workers to raise problems with their:

  • Manager or supervisor
  • Occupational Health and Safety Representative
  • Human Resources Department

You can also contact you state, federal or territory work health and safety regular for information, or to report the bullying.

If your workplace doesn’t have a bullying complaint procedure, of you have followed it and this hasn’t resolved the issue, contact us to discuss lodging an application with FWC. Call us toll free on 1800 333 666.

You may wish to consult a Doctor (General Practitioner) if you feel anxious, depressed or traumatised by events at work. If you have been assaulted or fear assault, you may want to contact the Police.

In many instances it may be appropriate to lodge a WorkCover claim, if you wish to pursue a WorkCover claim is important to consult your doctor. Please note we do not represent employees at WorkCover for bullying claims, our representation is available for Fair Work Commission bullying claims.

Action and Outcomes at FWC

FWC can set the matter down for mediation, to try to solve the issue in a timely and constructive manner. If mediation is not suitable or doesn’t resolve the issue, FWC can hold a conference or hearing to determine whether an order should be made.

If FWC is satisfied that:

  • A worker has been bullied at work by an individual or group of individuals; and
  • There is a continued risk of the individual being bullied by that individual or group,

FWC can make an order to prevent the worker from being bullied. Orders can include instructions such as:

  • requiring the individual or group of individuals to stop the specified behaviour
  • regular monitoring of behaviours by an employer or principal
  • compliance with an employer’s or principal’s bullying policy
  • the provision of information and additional support and training to workers
  • review of the employer’s or principal’s bullying policy.

There is no specified time limit for making a bullying complaint to FWC, however FWC can only make an order if the bullying is ongoing, and there is risk that the worker will continue to be bullied.

FWC is not able to issue fines, or award you financial compensation as part of a Workplace Bullying complaint. If you are seeking compensation as an outcome, we can discuss with you other types of claims if they are relevant to your circumstances, such as discrimination, sexual harassment, workers compensation, general protections or unfair dismissal. If you want more information about any of these claims, call us today on 1800 333 666. Bullying can be a very difficult and lonely experience. Remember, nobody deserves to be subjected to ongoing bullying at work and help is available.

Talk to us today, we care.