Workplace bullying

What is workplace bullying?

WorkSafe Victoria defines workplace bullying as: Repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward an employee or group of employees, that creates a risk to health and safety.

There are many different types of bullying behavior, here are just a few examples:

  • Verbal: This could be calling names, insulting, teasing, and yelling.
  • Physical: Unwanted touching, pushing, hitting or other violence; interfering with, hiding or damaging someone’s possessions
  • Social: Gossiping, isolation, spreading rumours, ‘cyberbullying’  which could include posting nasty comments, forwarding or posting photographs, or using Facebook, Twitter, chatrooms and SMS to bully.
  • Psychological: This could include stalking, scaring or intimidating someone.
  • Work specific: Always giving someone ‘the crap jobs’, having excessively high expectations of work to be performed, withholding the necessary tools to do the job properly (and then giving the worker a hard time for not performing).

If you’re being bullied…

  • tell the person to stop
  • use neutral language to respond to the bullying, like ‘maybe’ or ‘that’s what you think’
  • walk away
  • try to act unimpressed.

But if it’s been going on for a while and things aren’t getting better…

  • talk to your friends or workmates and ask for support
  • talk to your parents
  • talk to a supervisor or manager
  • talk to a union representative
  • call Kids Helpline, 1800 55 1800 or a 24 hour, 7 day a week counselling service for Australian young people aged between 5 and 25 years.
  • call the  WorkCover Advisory line in your state
    • 1800 136 089     VIC
    • 13 10 50             NSW
    • 13 18 55             SA
    • 1300 794 744     WA
    • 1300 362 128     QLD
    • 1300 776 572     TAS
    • (02) 6207 3000   ACT
    • 1800 019 115     NT

If you see someone else being bullied…

  • tell the person acting like a bully to stop
  • talk to a supervisor or manager
  • don’t watch or join in
  • try to change the subject
  • try to comfort and/or include the person who’s being targeted
  • explain to the person being bullied that it’s nothing to do with them—it’s about the other person’s behaviour.

Adapted with thanks from the National Centre Against Bullying

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