Workplaces are a mixture of personalities and opinions. This can result in a constructive and diverse work environment, but unfortunately it can also lead to friction. But what should you do if that friction crosses the line and becomes bullying and/or harassment?
What is bullying?
‘Bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.’
This can be anything from nasty remarks, spreading rumours, singling somebody out unfairly or behaviour designed to embarrass or humiliate someone.
What isn’t bullying?
Bullying is not behaviour that is a ‘reasonable management action’ in response to the performance of a worker.
For instance, if you consistently show up to work two hours late every day and fall behind schedule, it would be reasonable for your employer to inform you that your performance is subpar and take proportionate disciplinary action.
What should I do?
If you think you are being bullied, the first step is to report it. Many workplaces will have a procedure in place for reporting bullying or a policy for harassment in the workplace. It is a good idea to put any complaints in writing. Your employer should then investigate your complaint and take the relevant steps to put a stop to the behaviour.
If the behaviour of somebody at your workplace is causing you distress, you should also talk to your doctor about it. You may feel silly about doing so, but it is important your healthcare professional knows about anything which may be detrimental to your health. You would talk to your doctor about ongoing headaches or any other injury – it is important bullying is treated the same.
If you have developed an illness as a result of workplace bullying, the law is there to help you get compensation to get back on track.
At Blumers, we are experienced in running workplace bullying claims. Our staff would be happy to talk to you about what to do if you are experiencing workplace bullying. Call (02) 6208 2600 today.