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Bullies! You’re on Notice... - Article Image

Bullies! You’re on Notice...

POSTED BY FARAH RIZVI-HAMMOND

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Scary real life examples: 

1) An employee who was trying to resign from their job because they felt they were being bullied was shouted at and told they’d be sued if they took a new job – even though they were well within their rights to resign. When they spoke to HR and upper management, they were told that they’d misunderstood the situation and that the bully was just being “passionate”.

2) An employee who resigned from their job had their employer harass them into revealing their new company and Manager. This current employer then called up the new employer and bad-mouthed them saying “Hey, I wouldn’t hire them if I were you, they’re a terrible employee”. At the same time, they counter offered the employee who had resigned. The mind boggles.

What is bullying? Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety. Not all behaviour that makes a person feel upset or undervalued at work is classified as workplace bullying. In Australia, there is national legislation against bullying, and workplace bullying is defined in the Fair Work Act 2009.

Some behaviour that may be classified as workplace bullying, according to the Fair Work Commission include:

*  Aggressive or intimidating conduct
*  Belittling or humiliating comments
*  Spreading malicious rumours
*  Teasing, practical jokes or 'initiation ceremonies'
*  Exclusion from work-related events
*  Unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or     beyond a worker's skill level
*  Displaying offensive material
*  Pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner.
*  A single incident of unreasonable behaviour is not considered to be workplace bullying

However, it’s worthwhile talking to your human resources manager or someone you trust if you feel uncomfortable at any time.

Unfortunately, when you’ve been in recruitment as long as we have, you hear about some pretty inappropriate behavior in workplaces.

What can you do if you're being bullied at work? Even if you’re working in a high-pressure environment, you have the right to be treated with respect. If you feel that you may be being bullied, a good place to start is to have a look at the Fair Work Commission or the Human Rights Commission website. There are also authorities in different states who can help, for example WorkCover in New South Wales, SafeWork in South Australia and WorkSafe in Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, the Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and the Northern Territory. You may find there is a procedure at your workplace where you can get help from the human resources department. If you don’t find a resolution at work or with the relevant body in your state, you might consider speaking with a lawyer who can represent you.

Stop bullying behaviour in its tracks: It’s disheartening and damaging to the whole industry when bullying behaviour is allowed to continue. Not only is it a terrible experience for the person being bullied, and a risk to health and safety, it costs businesses money in sick leave, staff turnover, reduced productivity and law suits. There’s just no reason for it to continue. Our job as recruiters is to place candidates in great jobs where they will thrive, so if there’s a known bully in your organisation, and you’re not managing the situation as an employer, we shall not deal with you - period! 

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