Most of us work in some form or another, and in Australia, we are lucky to have a very fair and just system in place to manage the workplace. This is to ensure that everyone has the same rights and opportunities. While there are still areas where we need to make improvements, we can pretty happily say that the area of bullying and harassment in the workplace is pretty solid when it comes to your rights and responsibilities.
Bullying and Harassment – Understanding Your Rights
The laws in Queensland and Australia state that everyone has a right not to be bullied or harassed at work. There are nation-wide laws which govern how we must treat others at work, and there are also state and territorial bodies that are in place to help people when they are experiencing bullying or harassment.
If you’re not sure if you are covered by the state or territory laws, then take a look at what the Australian Government’s Fair Work Ombudsman has to say about it below:
The national anti-bullying laws cover constitutionally formed businesses including proprietary limited companies, foreign corporations, a body corporate incorporated into a territory, businesses and corporations. The anti-bullying laws don’t cover sole traders, partnerships, some employees of state government, and corporations whose main activity isn’t trading or financial. The laws also cover outworkers, students who are gaining work experience, contractors, subcontractors and volunteers.
What is Bullying?
If you are at work and a person or group of people are acting unreasonably towards you or a group of people, and that behaviour creates a risk to your health and/or safety, then this is bullying. Unreasonable behaviour can be defined as victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening someone. The definition of what is unreasonable is taken from whether a reasonable person would consider the behaviour unreasonable in those circumstances.
Examples of bullying
- Aggressive behaviour
- Teasing or jokes
- Pressure to behave inappropriately
- Exclusion from work-related events
- Unreasonable work demands
What isn’t bullying
Your manager is able to make decisions about poor performance and take the required disciplinary action. They can direct and control the way in which the work is carried out. Anything that is reasonable management action is not considered bullying.
If you have been or are being bullied or harassed at work, we can help. At Splatt Lawyers, we specialise in compensation for difficulty and harassment from bullying in the workplace.
Is There a Difference Between Bullying and Discrimination?
In short: yes, there is.
Discrimination is when there is ‘adverse action’ like firing or demoting someone based on their race, religion or gender.
Bullying happens when someone is unreasonable in their behaviour towards another person or people and causes a risk to health or safety in the workplace. They don’t have to be bullying someone based on a person’s characteristics, and adverse action doesn’t have to have occurred.
If You Think You are Being Bullied, You Can Take Action
Chances are, if you’re reading about legal action, you have probably taken a fair few steps towards resolving this on your own already.
The first step should be to talk to your manager or supervisor. Then, if the bullying isn’t dealt with appropriately and you still feel at risk, know that we are here to help. Our legal team have the sensitivity and experience to be able to work with you on your workplace bullying claim and to help you seek the appropriate level of compensation.
Often, it can be difficult and emotionally trying to go through the steps of bringing action against someone in a workplace bullying case. We understand this. At Splatt Lawyers, you receive confidential, expert advice and care from our dedicated team.
If you have been involved in a workplace bullying incident, give us a call on 1800 700 125. We’re here to help.