June is Workplace Bullying Awareness Month and at Shine Lawyers we believe every Australian has the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
Safe Work Australia defines workplace bullying as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. Bullying at work can come in many forms such as harassment, humiliation, abuse and sabotage.
This behaviour creates a significant threat to the health, safety and welfare of people in the workplace and could have wider implications for employers, including low morale, increased absenteeism, and staff turnover.
The financial costs are also substantial, according to the Workplace Bullying Project Team at Griffith University, the financial cost of bullying to Australian businesses is between $6 and $13 billion each year.
What to do if you're being bullied at work
If you’re experiencing a form of workplace bullying you can take the following steps;
- Check for a workplace bullying policy – read the policy or procedure at your workplace to determine how these matters are responded to.
- Talk to the person – if you feel safe to do so, ask the person in a non-confrontational manner to cease the behaviour.
- Keep a diary – record a copy of any emails with harassing language or note down witnesses to conversations with the bully.
- Report the bullying – speak to your manager or health and safety representative.
If your attempts to resolve the situation with your workplace have failed you can contact the Fair Work Commission – check to see if you’re eligible to submit an application here.
According to Safe Work Australia, 22% of mental stress worker’s accepted compensation claims in Australia were from work-related harassment or workplace bullying during 2008 – 2011. If you’re experiencing mental stress from bullying taking place in the workplace, you’re not alone, and we may be able to help you.
If you need immediate support, contact Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: May 12, 2016.