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.
- Don't be a silent witness
- Don't tolerate bullying
- Check your own behaviour
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleep disturbance
- Higher absenteeism
- Lower productivity
- Low morale
- Costly workers’ compensation claims or legal action
Prevention and managing risks
- Work stressors
- Leadership styles
- Systems of work
- Workplace relationships
- 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.
- Psychosocial hazards - Comcare
- Bullying - Safe Work Australia
- Anti-bullying - Fair Work Commission
- Bullying and harassment – Employee entitlements – Fair Work Ombudsman
- Workplace violence, harassment and bullying fact sheet - Australian Human Rights Commission
- Bullying - Two Minute Toolbox Talk to Team Leaders script (PDF, 181.6 KB)
- Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 – Refer to part 3.1 Managing risks to health and safety.
Page last reviewed: 05 May 2022