With the topic of creating a good culture a challenge in almost every workplace, the AGCSA asked HR expert Vicki Crowe from the PGA, to take us through the issue of workplace bullying and what to do if it rears its ugly head at your facility.
One of the biggest issues with understanding a person’s claim that they are being bullied is that it’s subjective, often emotive, and some say linked to issues that occurred in childhood that have been triggered. Depending on your personality, what upsets you often doesn’t upset another person and it can be difficult to understand their perspective.
From the bullying investigations I have undertaken, wanting to control others appears to be a common theme with bullies. It can be tricky to know how to deal with bullies. Some experts say to stand up to them, others say ignore them. No matter which approach you take, dealing with bullies can be exhaustive, time-consuming and non-productive in the workplace.
The Fair Work Commission (FWC) states that the action must be repeated and that the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety (this includes mental health). A one-off incident is not considered to be bullying.
If you have someone bullying others in the workplace, deal with it quickly as it will only escalate and can lead to a stress claim or action in the FWC.
You may be surprised with what bullying looks like. By definition, workplace bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer or manager, another person or a group of people at work. It includes;
Everyone has the right to be in a safe workplace free from violence, harassment and bullying. If you feel you are being bullied, don’t sit on it and hope it will go away – report it immediately
According to the Fair Work Act 2009, bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner. Reasonable management action may include;
However, any reasonable management actions must not only be reasonable but must also be conducted in a reasonable manner. If not, their behaviour could still be considered to be bullying.
Everyone has the right to be in a safe workplace free from violence, harassment and bullying. If you feel you are being bullied, don’t sit on it and hope it will go away. Report it to your manager or another person in authority that you trust. If they don’t act upon it, you can apply to the FWC for an order to stop the bullying.
Bullying can only be dealt with by the FWC if the person is still working for the company. If you are a manager or the employer, you have a legal responsibility under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law to provide a safe workplace. Employers also have a duty of care for all employees’ health and wellbeing while at work. For further information on how to handle bullying in the workplace, visit https://www.fwc.gov.au/disputes-at-work/anti-bullying
Source: Australian Human Rights Commission