Workplace bullying is a widespread issue and can have various effects on an employee’s physical and mental wellbeing. It should never be tolerated under any circumstances. In Australia, working in a safe and protected workplace free from bullying and harassment is a basic right for all employees. Under current state Occupational Health and Safety laws, your employer has an obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees and this extends to bullying.

Workplace bullying and harassment is generally defined as “repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety”. Bullying is not only restricted to employees but it may involve anyone with whom employees of the business come into contact with in the ordinary course of their employment whilst at work. It is irrelevant whether the person bullying and harassing you intended to do so.

Workplace bullying and harassment can cover a number of behaviours and actions and includes:

•   verbal abuse and unreasonable teasing
•   unacceptable language and rudeness
•   all forms of intimidating behaviour
•   spreading rumours about someone
•   practical jokes
•   sexual harassment

If you feel that you are experiencing workplace bullying or harassment, it is important that you start resolving the problem by approaching a supervisor or a human resources representative to discuss or make a formal complaint. If possible, resolve matters through mediation before seeking legal action. However, if a matter cannot be dealt with internally, you should seek professional legal advice.

As an employee, your legal rights in relation to workplace bullying or harassment can vary according to a number of factors including the nature of the workplace bullying and harassment and the reason for the workplace bullying and harassment. Our lawyers are equipped to assist you in handling any issues of workplace bullying or harassment. For more information submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to book an appointment.