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Bullying is a serious issue in workplaces across Australia and a risk factor for anxiety, depression, and suicide. It can also contribute to loss of productivity, staff turnover, absenteeism, low morale, and financial costs.

Bullying is not only an individual issue; but is also linked to broader issues - such as poor organisational culture and a lack of leadership. The most effective way to stamp out bullying is to stop it before it starts. This means creating a strong, consistent approach to prevent inappropriate behaviour from escalating, and a positive, respectful work culture where bullying is not tolerated.


Workplace bullying is defined by WorkSafe as repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety.


Reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner is not bullying, including:

• Genuine and reasonable instructions, goals, standards, and deadlines.
• Rostering and allocating reasonable working hours.
• Transferring a worker for genuine operational reasons.
• Constructive comments which are objective.


If you have experienced behaviour that meets the definition of bullying, you should:

• Inform your supervisor or manager, or
• Inform your HR or Health and Safety Manager. An initial assessment of a bullying complaint will be undertaken in line with the HR Handbook HRMHBK-001 (Section 6 – Grievance Management). Outcomes will vary depending on the nature ofthe complaint, and can include:
• An apology issued / A formal warning
• Disciplinary action (e.g., dismissal/transfer)
• Formal counselling / Awareness raising sessions
• Complaint dismissed


Agencies that may be able to help:

Fair Work Commission: Apply for an order to stop bullying 1300 799 675
Victoria Legal Aid: get free advice about how the law applies to your legal problem: legalaid.vic.gov.au1300 792 387
Equal Opportunities and Human Rights Commission: investigates complaints:  about human rights breaches, discrimination and more. humanrights.vic.gov.au  1300 292 153
• Beyond Blue: Counselling service to listen, provide information and advice, and further support:  beyondblue.org.au 1300 22 4636
• Lifeline: Crisis counselling support for those struggling to cope or thinking about suicide: lifeline.org.au13 11 14

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