What is workplace bullying?

'Workplace bullying is ordinarily repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed towards a person or group of persons, that creates a risk to health and safety.'

Bullying includes behaviour (generally a pattern of behaviour) that intimidates, offends, degrades or humiliates another person, including by electronic means such as email, notice boards, blogs and social networking websites.

See examples of what workplace bullying is and is not

Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can refer to a range of behaviours over time. Not all behaviour that makes a person feel upset at work is classified as workplace bullying. However, the behaviour may be deemed to be workplace bullying if they are repeated, unreasonable and create a potential or actual risk to health and safety.

Addressing workplace bullying

Based on the circumstances of each issue, there are a number of informal and formal ways in which a bullying complaint may be resolved.  Wherever possible and safe, you must first attempt to resolve the complaint informally at the local level, prior to lodging a formal complaint.

Speak to the other person

If you feel safe and comfortable doing so, calmly tell the other person you object to their behaviour and ask for it to stop. They may not realise the effect their behaviour is having on you and your feedback may give them the opportunity to change their actions.

If you choose to address the situation by directly speaking with the other person, some helpful considerations are:

  • To act as early as possible;
  • Raise your concerns informally and in a non-confrontational manner;
  • Focus on the unwanted behaviour rather than the person; and
  • Be open to feedback.

Raise your concerns with a relevant University officer

If you believe you are experiencing bullying, you may wish to seek advice and guidance from University officers who are able to provide assistance in this area. These include your supervisor, Discrimination and Harassment Advisors and HR Business Partners. 

Learn more about the University Officers who can help you

Information on the workplace bullying policy and process

Where attempts to resolve an issue locally and informally have failed, then the aggrieved staff member may need to enter into a formal process. To speak with HR about your individual circumstances, the relevant policies that apply to your concern, and steps you can take to resolve the issue, submit a general enquiry in Service Central.

More information on the formal process for grievances (including bullying)

Information for supervisors

A Guide to Dealing with Discrimination, Harassment and Bullying (PDF, 188KB) has been developed to assist managers and supervisors at ACU.

Page last updated on 23/01/2020

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