Workplace bullying is “the repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another person or persons in the workplace, which a reasonable person would consider unacceptable and inappropriate workplace practice”.
In other words, bullying is behaviour that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates a worker, possibly in front of co-workers, clients or customers.
There are bound to be occasional differences of opinion, conflicts and problems in working relations – these are part of working life. But when the behaviour is unreasonable and offends or harms you, then workplace bullying exists and should not be tolerated.
Workplace bullying is a pattern of abuse of workers or co-workers which can range from the subtle to the more obvious any may include but need not be limited to:
- Yelling; screaming; abuse; offensive language; insults; inappropriate comments about your appearance, personal life or lifestyle, slandering you or your family.
- Belittling opinions or constant criticism.
- Isolating workers from normal work interaction, training and development or career opportunities.
- Overwork, creating a feeling of uselessness.
- Undermining work performance; deliberately withholding work-related information or resources, or supplying incorrect information.
- Unexplained job changes, meaningless tasks, tasks beyond your skills, failure to give credit where due.
- Tampering with your personal effects or work equipment.
- Teasing or regularly being made the brunt of pranks/practical jokes.
- Displaying written or pictorial material which degrades or offends.
- Unreasonable “administrative sanctions” e.g. undue delay in processing applications for training. Leave or payment of wages.
Bullying is unacceptable behaviour and can lead to low morale or illness on the part of the recipient or loss of productivity, increased sick leave and WorkCover costs.
Workplace bullying can be instigated by, and affect, both females and males at all levels of employment.
This behaviour is unacceptable and in some instances may be in breach of the Workplace Health and Safety Act or the Anti-Discrimination Act. In some instances the behaviour can get out of hand and then becomes a police matter.
People subjected to bullying inevitably suffer from low self-esteem and start to believe that their behaviour/actions have led to the bullying. There may also be cultural constraints that do not allow people to take up their issues, or there may be a sense of powerlessness due to their position in the Organisation.
If you believe you are being bullied, you should contact DIRECTOR and request an investigation. If your complaint involves DIRECTOR, your complaint should be raised with the Fairwork Ombudsmen or the Australian Human Rights Commission.
Should you not be satisfied with the results of the investigation, you can invoke the Grievance Procedure.