Modern Australian

Understanding Workplace Bullying

  • Written by News Company

Over the past several decades, massive strides have been made in regards to workplace security, safety, and rights for both employees and employers. However, unfortunately, cases will still arise where individuals and groups have been treated unfairly or unjustly at the hands of either an employer, a colleague, or an institution. Thankfully, between government intervention, new laws, and the rise/availability of workplace bullying lawyers, workers have a number of options when dealing with unjust issues within the workplace.

So, whether you’re experiencing bullying in the workplace or simply want to further educate yourself on the subject, we have spoken to a team of workplace bullying lawyers in order to provide you with a brief outline of what to look for and what options are available to you.

Firstly, What is Workplace Bullying?

Whilst most of us are familiar with what bullying looks like, it can be more difficult to have an objective viewpoint when it comes to issues in the workplace. After all, workers can often feel as if their livelihoods are on the line, which can, in turn, make it more difficult to draw a line between standard employee interactions and bullying. However, in general, workplace bullying is the use of social, physical, psychological or verbal abuse at the hands of a colleague, an employer, or a group at your place of employment.

This can occur in any type of workplace across any medium. There is no discrimination between volunteers, interns, employees, etc. when it comes to bullying, abuse or harassment. So, no matter what your affiliation with the company or business in question is, you are still entitled to the same rights regarding workplace bullying and abuse.

If an issue with workplace bullying escalates to the point of a criminal offence, such as physical assault, violence, or stalking, it is advised that you speak directly with the police to file a report.

How Does Workplace Bullying Present Itself?

There are very few set guidelines for what constitutes abusive or bullying behaviour in the workplace, as it can be seen in many forms. With that said, however, some examples of bullying behaviours include:

  1. Constant hurtful remarks.
  2. Insults against your gender or a racial, cultural, educational, or economic group you belong to.
  3. Sexual harassment, such as unwanted touching or explicit comments.
  4. Psychological harassment, such as active omission from groups and activities.
  5. Deliberately making your work more difficult needlessly, such as by constantly shifting your work hours or refusing to divulge necessary information.
  6. Threatening or hazing behaviour, such as being made to complete humiliating or degrading tasks for the approval of others.

This is only a few of the forms that workplace bullying can take. If you feel that you are being treated unfairly at your place of employment, there are actions you can take.

What Should I do if I’m Experiencing Bullying at Work?

The first thing to do is stay informed of your rights and possible avenues for addressing issues internally. Many larger companies will have complaints procedures set up to handle these situations, which can allow you to resolve issues internally if you prefer. You can also keep a diary of things that happen, including times and what you have done to try and stop the situation. This will be helpful if/when you decide to make a complaint in the future.

It’s also important that you have support if you feel you are being bullied at work. This can come in the form of a friend or family member you trust, or in the form of support services. If you are part of a union, they are likely to have services available to support you in these situations.

If you feel unsafe or have been put in a situation that requires more drastic measures than those mentioned above to be resolved, speak to the Human Rights Commission in your state or area, and for offences that may be criminal in nature, contact the police as soon as you can.

Nobody should have to deal with workplace bullying or discrimination. Just know that, if you find yourself in unjust circumstances within your place of employment, there are assistance options available to you.


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