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What is bullying?

According to the Fair Work Act, a worker is bullied if, while at work, an individual or a group repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards that worker, and that behaviour creates a risk to that worker’s health and safety.

The key elements to remember are that the behaviour needs to be:

  • unreasonable
  • done repeatedly
  • and must impact the worker’s 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.

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

Examples of bullying behaviour

Examples of bullying can include:

  • threats
  • humiliation
  • shouting
  • sarcasm
  • intimidation and coercion
  • singling out or ostracism
  • innuendo
  • rumour-mongering
  • disrespect and mocking
  • discrimination
  • exclusion from work events
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too little or too much work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level

Who is protected from workplace bullying?

All employees, along with students on work experience, contractors and subcontractors and volunteers are protected from bullying under the law.

How We Can Help

If you have experienced workplace bullying or harassment, our team of employment lawyers and industrial advocates can help.

We can take legal action to have the behaviour stopped, and we can also represent you in the

  • Human Rights Commission,
  • the Fair Work Commission,
  • the Industrial Relations Commission,
  • or any other relevant court or tribunal.

Look after yourself

Workplace bullying can affect people in different ways.

It is vitally important to look after your health and safety and your well being.

If someone is making physical threats against you or your property, contact the police immediately by calling Triple Zero.

If you are feeling anxious or depressed, make sure that you talk to someone.

Speak to a friend, or you can make an appointment to see your doctor, or you can contact:

beyondblue on 1300 22 4636

Lifeline on 13 11 44

Kids’ HelpLine on 1800 55 1800

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