There are concerns that workplace bullying is a growing issue in Australia.

Worse yet, some experts, like Professor Gary Martin of the Australian Institute of Management, contend its becoming a “silent epidemic” fuelled by victims fears of job loss. (The Australian)

In a 2015 study, almost one in every ten Australian workers surveyed indicated that they had experienced workplace bullying in the previous 6 months and more than a third reported being sworn or yelled at in their workplace (Safe Work Australia).

So what should we do, when faced with workplace bullying or harassment?

In most cases, victims are encouraged to attempt to resolve issues in accordance with their workplace’s internal procedures and policies. So, the first step will usually be to inform a supervisor, manager, health and safety representative, or union representative and asking them to make a report on your behalf. (Safe Work Australia)

But if internal resolution processes fail, there are external avenues that can assist. Each state has their own regulators which deal with complaints in accordance with their individual compliance and prosecution policies. In NSW, these complaints are dealt with by SafeWork NSW.

Alternatively, under federal law, the Fair Work Commission can make orders to stop workplace bullying. If an Australian worker is covered by the Fair Work Commission (more information is available at www.fwc.gov.au), then they may apply for the FWC to make an order.

Lucy Urach

Lucy Urach

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