Published on Mar 14, 2017

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Workplace Bullying

Bullying in your business will cost you! It is often an unseen rot that can eat away at your business.

The worker who is bullied, their colleagues and the business owner pay the price of having bullies in the workplace.

Bullying isn’t limited to in-person abuse. It is common in emails and on social media in the form of abusive posts and tweets.

Volunteers, contractors and sub-contractors, students on work experience and outworkers are also protected from bullying.

So make sure you know the signs and deal with it before it gets a grip on your business.

Bullying is intentional, repeated behaviour and includes:

  • Hazing, intimidation, victimising, ongoing accusations.
  • Belittling behaviour, verbal and physical threats, practical jokes at the worker’s expense.
  • Withholding critical information or tools for the job.
  • Roster or task allocation that makes it difficult for the worker to do their job.
  • Exclusion, isolation or excessive monitoring or blocking a worker’s access to opportunity.
  • Constant criticism and failure to give due credit.

What bullying isn’t:

  • Job performance management, feedback or discipline for poor quality work, poor behaviour or unreasonable absenteeism.
  • Single instances of inappropriate behaviour (although this should be monitored in case it escalates to repeated offenses).
  • Failure to promote a worker when there is reasonable cause not to.

The impact on your business:

  • Lower productivity, lower motivation, deteriorating relationships, lacklustre performance.
  • Increased absenteeism, high staff turnover, high stress, costs associated with downtime, counselling discipline and replacing workers.
  • Costs associated with compensation claims and insurance premiums.
  • Damage to the businesses reputation and image.
  • Inability to recruit good workers, stagnation of innovation as a result of lower confidence of existing staff

How you can tackle bullying:

  • Ensure you have a bullying policy and procedures in place for dealing with bullying incidents.
  • Ensure you have a training schedule for ALL staff and management and include it in staff inductions
  • Stay up to date on changes in the legislation.
  • If you have a worker at your business who is being bullied, call the Fair Work Help Line for Employers.

Fair Work also publishes several useful guides to workplace management and bullying. Go to

Fair Work Bullying and Harassment for more information.