What is workplace bullying?
The national Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying (PDF, 746 kB) (the guide), made under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (PDF, 1.42 MB), defines workplace bullying as 'repeated' and 'unreasonable behaviour' directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.
Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can involve a range of behaviours over time.
Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.
Examples of behaviour, whether intentional or unintentional, that may be considered to be workplace bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and creates a risk to health and safety include (but are not limited to):
- abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
- unjustified criticism or complaints
- deliberate exclusion of someone from the workplace activities
- withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
- setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
- setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person's skill level
- denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
- spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
- changing work arrangements such as rosters and leave to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers.
What is not workplace bullying?
- A single incident of unreasonable behaviour.
- Reasonable management action in connection with a worker's employment is not considered workplace bullying if it is carried out lawfully and in a reasonable manner, taking the particular circumstances into account.
- Workplace conflict – differences of opinion and disagreements are generally not considered to be workplace bullying.
- Acts of unlawful discrimination, vilification or sexual harassment.
More information about the definitions of what is, and what is not, workplace bullying is available within Section 1 of the guide (PDF, 746 kB).