Bullying can occur in a variety of forms and can occur between co‑workers, from managers to workers, or even from workers to managers. It is a serious issue that both employees and employers must be aware of. As an employer you have certain duties to ensure that you provide a safe workplace for your employees. As an employee you have the right to work in a safe environment free from the possibility if psychological harm.
What is bullying?
Under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) a person is bullied at work if an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards the worker and that behaviour creates a risk to the health and safety of the worker.
Bullying can fall under many different legislative frameworks such as workplace health and safety laws, anti‑discrimination laws, industrial laws, workers compensation laws and criminal law.
What is harassment?
Unlawful harassment occurs when someone is made to feel intimidated, insulted or humiliated because of his/her race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, disability, sexual preference, or other characteristic specified under anti‑discrimination or human rights legislation.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination may be direct or indirect and is any practice which makes distinctions between individuals or groups so as disadvantage some groups and advantage others groups. Discrimination is unlawful when based on race, colour, sex, sexual preference, age, physical or mental disability, marital status, family or carer’s responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion, national extraction, social origin, sexual orientation, lawful sexual activity, gender identity or industrial activity.
If you are being bullied, harassed or discriminated against in the workplace then you should report the behaviour to your employer. You may also have rights under the Fair Work Act, Workplace Health and Safety Laws or Human Rights Commission. Hillhouse Burrough McKeown can assist you with information about these avenues.
As an employer you have a duty to ensure that your workplace is safe from psychological harm. If you have had a complaint about bullying in the workplace, or wish to establish a bullying policy or set of procedures in case of a bullying incident, then Hillhouse Burrough McKeown can assist you to fulfil these objectives.