As BuzzFeed breaks the news of allegations of workplace bullying and misconduct against Labor MP Emma Husar, I’m not surprised. At all. Everyday we take calls and emails from workers at all levels across Australia being bullied at work. While all eyes are on the #metoo movement, workplace bullying continues infecting Australian workplaces, leaving many employees feeling like they have no choice but to resign. The good news is you do have choices and you don’t have to put up with workplace bullying. Here are 3 ways to stop workplace bullying.
1. Call it
Workplace bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour that creates a risk to health and safety. It can include: intimidation, threats, humiliation, shouting, sarcasm, singling-out, malicious pranks, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, belittling, bad faith, harassment, ganging-up, isolation, freezing-out, ostracism, innuendo, rumour-mongering and disrespect.
When it happens to you or you witness it, call it out. You don’t have to do it right away, in fact it might be better you don’t if it is already a heated situation. Rather, go away, write a diary note of what happened, when, who was involved and where, and once things have settled ask to meet with the perpetrator and tell them what they did and how it made you feel. Tell them you felt bullied and that you don’t want it to happen again. Make a note of the conversation.
2. Report it
Often people do not realise they are engaging in bullying conduct and when called on it, stop. If calling it works, fantastic. If it doesn’t, you should report it. Check to see if your workplace has a workplace bullying policy and complaint handling procedure. Usually these things can be resolved informally in the first instance, meaning you report it to the relevant contact, probably HR and they can address it with the perpetrator on your behalf, without the need for a formal investigation. Sometimes, you or HR might think it needs to be addressed formally, this means you will make a formal complaint, usually in writing, the perpetrator will be given a right of reply and a decision will be made on the facts and supporting material available. This is why the notes we recommend above are so important, they are valuable supportive evidence in he said she said situations.
3. Go external
If dealing with the complaint internally does not stop the bullying you can apply to the Fair Work Commission for a stop-bullying order. The matter will be mediated, meaning a member of the Commission will hear both sides out and try to help you resolve it. If a resolution cannot be reached the matter may proceed to a formal hearing where the Commission can make orders to stop the bullying. The Commission can order the bullying stop, monitoring of the perpetrator, compliance with the workplace policy, support and training be provided and a review of the workplace policy. If the Commission makes an order to stop bullying against a person and the person breaches the order civil penalties can apply.
You have choices and there is support out there for you. Taking notes about the bullying is so important and valuable. Your employer has a duty to provide a safe workplace, you have a right to feel safe at work. You do not have to put up with bullying and there are mechanisms for dealing with it while you are employed.
If you have suffered a work injury as a result of the bullying either physical or psychological, speak to your Doctor, you may be eligible to commence a workers compensation claim. You can also report the bullying to SafeWork for independent investigation and if the conduct is criminal you should report it to the police.
Resolution123 is here to help, we can support you through any of the stages outlined either in the background as your support or as your legal representative. You can check if you have a work claim on our website or using our eligibility questionnaire Resolution123. You can also book a complimentary 15 minute chat here workplace bullying.