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.
WHAT IS BULLYING
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.
WHAT ISN’T BULLYING
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.
MAKING A COMPLAINT
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
WHO CAN HELP? EXTERNAL AGENCIES:
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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