Image of young man suffering bullying in the workplace

Dealing with Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying in the workplace can be devastating. It can lead to stress and anxiety and ultimately affect your health and your sense of wellbeing.  It is not acceptable behaviour in Australian workplaces.

SafeWork NSW, defines bullying in the workplace as repeated and unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to health and safety. It can be directed at an individual or a group of workers. Unreasonable behaviour can include:

  • offensive language or comments
  • unjustified criticism
  • deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • withholding information needed for work

This short video provides an overview of workplace bullying.  This video will help you identify if you are being subjected to workplace bullying.

What to do if you are being bullied

First you need to understand what is and what is not bullying.  You can then determine if you are a victim. SafeWork NSW has a number of guides on understanding and managing bullying. You can download these publications on their website.

Next, determine who you should contact about this.  You might, as suggested in the video, talk to a colleague, a manager or supervisor.  You may feel challenged by the thought of talking to your manager or supervisor.  If so, take a look at the Difficult Conversations in the Workplace course provided by the Fair Work Ombudsman.  While this course does not deal directly with bullying, it covers the steps to take to speak to your employer.

The longer a conflict or bullying issue goes on the worse it becomes. Consequently, the sooner you tackle this issue the better.

Speak to an external organisation about the bullying, if your employer is directly involved. You can contact a number of organisations.  The right one for you will depend on the nature of the bullying situation and its affect on you. You will also find a list of organisations to contact on the SafeWork website.

Finally, if you feel that your situation is no longer bearable, contact SafeWork and complete a Workplace Bullying form.

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