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Bullying

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Bullying is the repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers, and is considered a risk to health and safety under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

Failure to take steps to manage this risk could result in a breach of the Act.

Workplace bullying can include:

  • Abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • Aggressive or intimidating conduct
  • Practical jokes or initiation
  • Unjustified criticism or complaints
  • Setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level.

Tips

  • Don't be a silent witness
  • Don't tolerate bullying
  • Check your own behaviour

Potential harm

For individuals

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Stress

For employers

  • Higher absenteeism
  • Lower productivity
  • Low morale
  • Costly workers’ compensation claims or legal action

Prevention and managing risks

Risks

  • Work stressors
  • Leadership styles
  • Systems of work
  • Workplace relationships

Controls

  • Ensure effective policies are in place, setting the standard for workplace behaviour and management commitment.
  • Ensure there are effective procedures that address safe systems of work, reporting and responding to incidents.
  • Provide relevant training and information, including APS code of conduct and awareness of bullying and harassment matters.
  • Provide access to a support network such as an employee assistance program or mediation service.
Page last reviewed: 05 May 2022

Comcare (Office Safety tool)
GPO Box 9905, Canberra, ACT 2601
1300 366 979 | www.comcare.gov.au

Date printed 29 Jun 2022

https://www.comcare.gov.au/office-safety-tool/workplace-safety/bullying