Bullying and harassment
Bullying and harassment are often thought of separately; however both involve a more powerful person or group oppressing a less powerful person or group, often on the grounds of 'difference. These differences can be related to culture, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, ability or disability, relation, body size and physical appearance, age, marital status or economic status.
On this page:
- What is bullying and harassment in the workplace?
- What to do do if you're bullied or harassed at work
- Help and advice
What is bullying and harassment in the workplace?
Harassment is unwelcome conduct that humiliates, offends or intimidates people. Harassment is bullying conduct that is neither appropriate nor relevant to work. This includes words as well as actions, pictures and images, manifest attitudes and a hostile or threatening atmosphere. The effect is to make a person feel insulted, offended, intimidated and unable to work effectively or safely.
Bullying is another form of workplace harassment that many employers and employees face. Examples of bullying behaviour include unfair and excessive criticism, publicly insulting victims, ignoring their point of view, constantly changing or setting unrealistic work targets and undervaluing their efforts at work, or cultural insensitivity.
Your employer may be responsible for what other employees do if he/she hasn't taken reasonable actions to prevent or respond to the bullying or harassment. Reasonable actions can include acting on bullying or harassment issues, implementing policies and procedures and training programs for all staff.
The most effective way to prevent bullying is for your employer to send a clear message that workplace bullying is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. View an excellent guide in preventing workplace bullying at SafeWork NSW.
What to do if your're bullied or harassed at work
- Seek help and advice from someone you trust.
- If you are able, tell the bully that you find their behaviour unreasonable.
- If the behaviour doesn't stop, check to see if your employer has a policy to prevent and deal with bullying and follow the procedures to report it.
- Check if your Industrial Award or Workplace Agreement has procedures for bullying or grievance handling.
- Talk to Training Services NSW, phone 13 28 11 to be directed to your nearest office. We can talk to your employer and provide mediation if needed.
- See a doctor, if necessary.
Who can give you help and advice?
- SafeWork NSW - know who to contact for your situation - Phone 13 10 50
- Workplace, Occupational health and safety representatives in your workplace
- Your supervisor or employer
- Your organisation's personnel or human resources representatives
- Unions - if you are a member of a Union
- Training Services NSW - Phone 13 28 11 to be directed to your nearest Centre for confidential advice and assistance.