Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behavior directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. Such behaviour is highly destructive and can cause emotional distress that is potentially detrimental to achieving success. The nature of some industries can create a competitive work environment where staff feel that it is necessary to resort to bullying behaviour in order to get ahead.

In some organizations where staff do not have reasonably open and strong professional relationships, there seems to be more reluctance to challenge bullying behaviour. If such behaviour becomes unchallenged, then the workplace is accepting it as part of its culture.

There are numerous methods that can help remove bullying behaviour from the workplace culture. Some of these methods include:

• Creating a workplace culture that encourages open, honest conversations between staff members. This can prevent bullying behaviours from being an accepted part of the workplace culture.
• Ensuring that all staff members are clear about what are not acceptable behaviours. This information may be conveyed through workplace policies.
• Encouraging proactive leadership so that staff feel safe to speak out when they see something inappropriate.
• Providing performance reviews to staff members. This will give staff an opportunity to raise any issues regarding inappropriate behaviour in a safe environment.
• Providing strong leadership to staff members. Leaders must be prepared to model the behaviour that is considered acceptable (i.e. according to workplace policies).

If you require any help with policies or procedures or advice in relation to bullying, our team of lawyers at The Quinn Group can help you. Contact us on (02) 9223 9166 or submit an online enquiry.