What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety. Workplace bullying comes in many forms. Bullying and harassment can lead to a toxic workplace culture.

Examples of behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be workplace bullying if they

are repeated, unreasonable and create a risk to health and safety include but are not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting, or offensive language or comments
  • aggressive and intimidating conduct
  • belittling or humiliating comments
  • victimisation
  • Guide for Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying Page 6 of 30
  • practical jokes or initiation
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • deliberately excluding someone from work-related activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation, or resources to the detriment of
  • the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours, and
  • changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a
  • particular worker or workers.

If the behaviour involves violence, for example physical assault or the threat of physical assault, it

should be reported to the police.

Preventing Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying is best to be dealt with by taking steps to prevent it before it creates a health and safety risk.

  1. Identifying the potential for workplace bullying
  2. Controlling the risks
  3. Monitoring and reviewing

How to respond to a report of workplace bullying

Workplace bullying is best managed by responding so soon as possible after being made aware of the situation.

  • Consider the following when you are responding to workplace bullying:
  • Is this behavior bullying or not?
  • Does the situation warrant measures to minimize the risk of ongoing harm?
  • Do I have a clear understanding or assistance?
  • Do I need additional information to assistance?
  • Can the matter be safety resolved between the parties or at team level?
  • Should the matter be progressed to an investigation?
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