When Should You Report Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying can be toxic to organisations and can have a long-term physical and emotional impact on victims. If someone you know is being bullied at work, it’s important to know when to report it.

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour which is directed towards an individual or a group of workers, and creates a risk to their health and safety.

Every situation is different when it comes to workplace bullying, and it can be difficult to know how serious it is. If there is an immediate risk of physical harm to an employee, then workplace bullying should definitely be reported. In less serious cases, whether or not to report the bullying to a manager or supervisor can depend on how comfortable the victim is talking to their supervisor, and whether they are concerned about repercussions.

When determining whether or not to report bullying to a supervisor, it’s important to decide if the behaviour is classed as bullying, or if it falls under another category like reasonable management direction or discrimination.

Here are some examples of workplace bullying that should be reported:

  • Repeated hurtful remarks about a person’s standard of work or them as a person, including comments about their ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic background or other factors.
  • Repeatedly excluding someone or stopping them taking part in activities related to work..
  • Giving someone pointless tasks which have nothing to do with their job.
  • Deliberately changing someone’s work hours or schedule to make it more difficult for them to do their work.
  • Deliberately overloading someone with work they can’t possibly get done in the required timeframe or with the available resources.
  • Physical bullying including pushing, kicking, grabbing or any other physical contact which is unwanted and repeated.
  • Threats of physical harm against a person.

Some activities which aren’t categorised as bullying include:

  • Reasonable management direction.
  • Disciplinary action which is reasonable and in keeping with organisational policies and procedures.
  • Other forms of harassment including sexual harassment and discrimination. These should still be reported, but will be dealt with differently from workplace bullying.

If you are concerned about bullying in your workplace, it may be worth having a confidential discussion with a supervisor, or a health and safety officer, to determine whether further action should be taken.

Whatever the circumstances, it’s important that workplace bullying or intimidation doesn’t continue, as this can have serious repercussions for the wellbeing of the victims and other employees who may be exposed to the behaviour. It can result in an unhappy and unproductive workplace for all employees, not just the direct victims of bullying.

Content retrieved from: http://www.wiseworkplace.com.au/_blog/WISE_Blog/post/when-should-you-report-workplace-bullying/.