Please note the information below has been taken from the Australian Human Rights Commission and the State Work Health and Safety Authorities; this information is accurate as of April 2018.
The Australian Human Rights Commission defines workplace bullying as:
The Australian Human Rights Commission provides a list of what workplace bullying can look like:
Not everything is bullying, there are some practises in the work place that may seem unfair but are not bullying. Your employer may transfer, demote, discipline, counsel or sack you, as long as they are acting reasonably this is not bullying.
Some types of workplace bullying are criminal offences. If you have experienced violence, assault and stalking you can report it to the police.
It is your employer’s legal responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. Your employer has a duty of care for health and wellbeing whilst you are working. An employer who allows bullying in their workplace is not meeting their legal obligations or responsibilities.
The Australian Human Rights Commission provides the following information on what you can do if you are being bullied in your workplace.
Make sure you’re informed. Check to see if your workplace has a bullying policy and complaints procedure.
Keep a diary. Documenting everything that happens, including what you’ve done to try stopping it. This can help if you make a complaint.
Get support from someone you trust or contact support services. Even if you don’t know anyone you can talk to, there are support services that are immediately available to help and support you.
Approach the bully. If you feel safe and confident, you can approach the person who is bullying you and tell them that their behaviour is unwanted and not acceptable. If you are unsure how to approach them, you might be able to get advice from an appointed contact person, or from a colleague or manager.
Tell someone at your work. Your workplace will usually have a process for making a complaint and resolving disputes, which might include a warning, requiring the bully to have counselling, a mediation process, or even firing the bully if the situation continues. The person to talk to might be your supervisor/manager, a harassment contact officer, or a health and safety representative (if your work has one).
Get information and advice. If the bullying is serious, if the situation has not changed after complaining to your manager, or if there is not anyone you can safely talk to at work you can get outside information and advice.
The following organisations can be contacted for assistance:
Find out specifically about Bullying and harassment on their bullying and harassment page: https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/bullying-and-harassment
They also provide a number of useful guides that you may want to download:
In 2018 AACAI conducted a survey to understand how practitioners in our industry may be experiencing bullying and harassment. The results were alarming and will require cooperation across the industry to redress some of the workplace issues unfortunately being faced by many of our members.
AACAI are preparing several measures based on this information, including a paper on the results of the bullying survey and a series of workshops for members to better know their rights and responsibilities regarding with bullying and harassment.
AACAI have also sought legal advice for persistent and recurring issues affecting our members in Victoria and NSW.
You can also report bullying incidences to the following state and territory work health and safety authorities
Worksafe ACT: Phone number 02 62073000
For specific bullying information https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/3160/kw/Bullying
Safe Work NSW: Phone Number 13 10 50
For specific bullying information https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/snippet/whs-authorities-homepages/contacts-new-south-wales
Safe Work SA: Phone Number 1300 365 255
For specific bullying information https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/show_page.jsp?id=5082
Worksafe Tas: Phone Number 1300 366 322 (within Tasmania) or 03 6166 4600 (Outside Tasmania)
For specific bullying information https://www.worksafe.tas.gov.au/bullying
Worksafe Victoria: Phone Number 1800 136 089
For specific bullying information https://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/pages/safety-and-prevention/health-and-safety-topics/workplace-bullying
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland: Phone number 1800 177 717 (Workplace Bullying hotline)
For specific bullying information https://www.worksafe.qld.gov.au/injury-prevention-safety/mental-health-at-work/tools-and-resources/workplace-bullying
Worksafe WA: Phone Number 1300 307 877
For specific bullying information http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/bullying
As noted earlier, if the bullying is violent or threatening it may be a criminal offense and in this sort of an urgent situation you should contact the police by calling 000.
If the situation is not urgent you can call 131 444 for all states and territories except for Victoria where you will need to visit a police station.