What is workplace harassment/bullying?
What is workplace harassment?
Workplace harassment/bullying is where a person is subjected to behaviour, other than sexual harassment (PDF, 784 kB), that:
- is repeated, unwelcome and unsolicited
- the person considers to be offensive, intimidating, humiliating or threatening
- a reasonable person would consider to be offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.
Workplace harassment/bullying can be committed by:
- group of co-workers
- clients or customers
- members of the public.
Workplace harassment/bullying covers a wide range of behaviours ranging from subtle intimidation to more obvious aggressive tactics, including:
- abusing a person loudly, usually when others are present
- repeated threats of dismissal or other severe punishment for no reason
- constant ridicule and being put down
- leaving offensive messages on email or the telephone
- sabotaging a person's work, for example, by deliberately withholding or supplying incorrect information, hiding documents or equipment, not passing on messages and getting a person into trouble in other ways
- humiliating a person through gestures, sarcasm, criticism and insults, often in front of customers, management or other workers
- spreading gossip or false, malicious rumours about a person with an intent to cause the person harm.
Management action may be considered as workplace harassment where it is used:
- primarily to offend, intimidate, humiliate or threaten workers
- to create an environment where workplace harassment is more likely to occur.
What is not workplace harassment?
More information about the definitions of what is and what is not workplace harassment is available within Section 1 of the Prevention of Workplace Harassment Code of Practice 2004.