Identifying bullying behaviour
If you feel like you are being bullied, you should first talk to a trusted friend or colleague to ‘sense check’ what you are experiencing is indeed bullying at work.
Some signs of bullying at work may include:
- you being excluded from team meetings or activities
- someone consistently taking credit for your work
- someone spreading false rumours about you
- someone swearing or yelling at you.
To be considered ‘workplace bullying’, these types of behaviour need to be repeated and unreasonable.
If you think that what you’re experiencing is bullying, you should find out if there are any relevant workplace policies or processes and follow these. There may be trained people, or a health and safety representative, in your workplace who know how to deal with it.
If there are no relevant workplace policies or processes, you can choose one of the following approaches.
Dealing with bullying yourself
If you feel comfortable, you can write to the person you think is bullying you or speak to that person in private. You could bring a support person. You should keep a written record of the incidents that have made you feel bullied.
Resolving bullying informally
You could ask your direct manager to step in informally. Or if the person accused of bullying is your direct manager, ask another manager, or a human resources or health and safety representative.
You can informally report the bullying using the Bullying: Informal complaint form on the Worksafe website.
The person who steps in to address your concerns will get details of what happened from you. They would then try to resolve the matter informally. They could speak with the person accused of bullying, telling them their behaviour was inappropriate and asking them not to do it again.
Managers involved need to be clear on what actually happened. Otherwise, a formal investigation may need to be carried out, to be fair to the person accused of bullying.
If the behaviour continues, you may choose to make a formal complaint.
Making a formal complaint
- You can raise a formal complaint about the behaviour to your direct manager.
- If the person accused of bullying is your direct manager, raise the complaint to a human resources or health and safety representative, union or lawyer.
- You could use the Bullying: Formal complaint form on the Worksafe website.
Bullying: Reporting and assessment forms - WorkSafe (external link) (external link)
- It is good to put in writing what happened so there are no misunderstandings. It is important to be as clear as possible about what happened, including dates and what was said, seen or done.
- If you have a preference for what you would like to see as the outcome of the complaint, you can tell this to the person who investigates. That person will consider this, but they may decide if a different course of action is more appropriate.
- After the investigation, the person who investigated should tell you:
- if the behaviour was decided to be bullying
- if any action will be taken
- when the action will be taken.