Workplace bullying and how to deal with it
Ok guys, listen up for serious topic time: bullying in the workplace is not acceptable, ever. It is just not cool in any way, shape or form.
Every work place has the responsibility to make the work environment safe, happy and free from harassment. As an employee, you have the right to feel comfortable and confident when you’re at work.
Some examples of workplace bullying include:
- Hurtful comments making fun of you or your work
- Sexual harassment
- Excluding you from workplace activities
- Playing mind games or ‘ganging up’
- Giving you pointless tasks that don’t help you do your job
- Making impossible demands; setting you up to fail
- Using your roster to deliberately make things difficult for you
- Withholding important info
- Physical violence, from pushing and tripping to outright attacks
- Threatening you with workplace equipment like knives or drills
- Initiation or ‘hazing’ rituals where you have to do something unacceptable or humiliating
Workplace bullying does not include being fired, transferred or reprimanded by your manager. However, if you are fired for insane reasons in a small company, then that falls under unfair dismissal and is dealt with differently. You can read some info on the Fair Work Ombudsman here.
Many workplaces have procedures and options available in the event that you are a victim or creator of bullying. Make sure you’ve read the documents about what your rights at work are and who to speak to in the event of bullying; this is usually your direct manager.
It’s never good to suffer in silence in cases of workplace bullying. So take the right action – keep a diary or log where you honestly account for the harassment events, your actions and note key dates and times. Get some advice from a designated officer in your workplace like HR managers or OH&S officers as bullying cases in workplaces need to be handled confidentially. Some workplaces have counselling services that can help you develop skills to cope with bullying. Speak to the person who is harassing you, let them know you won’t stand for any kind of intimidation, and if that doesn’t resolve the issue, go higher to managers.
If you are not being bullied, but see it happen to someone else you work with, then you too have a responsibility to let them know they have the right to deal with it!
Here are some helpful links by state to let you know about your rights in stopping workplace harassment:
Australian Capital Territory
WorkSafe ACT can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying call 02 6207 3000
New South Wales
Workcover Authority of NSW can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying call 13 10 50
NT Worksafe can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying. Call 1800 019 115
SafeWork SA can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying call 1300 365 255
Workplace Victoria can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying.
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying. You can call the young workers advisory service 1800 232 000 and a Workplace Bullying hotline 1800 177 717
WorkSafe WA can provide advice and help if you are experiencing workplace bullying. Call 1300 655266