Workplace Bullying

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Have you in your present employment experienced any conduct that could be workplace bullying? Have you been subject to various insults which include threats to make your life difficult? Don’t worry this is where LAC Lawyers can take over to protect your rights and interests when it comes to workplace bullying.

LAC Lawyers are the Workplace Bullying Lawyers of choice because we have;

  • 7 Workplace bullying lawyers
  • Offices in Sydney and Melbourne
  • A large boutique employment practice
  • Legal knowledge coupled with commercial common sense

Workplace Bullying Definition

Workplace bullying has serious consequences and its effects can be more psychological than physical. Bullying can occur between the victim and the employer as well as a co worker. It is defined in section 55A (1) of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986: ‘Workplace bullying means any behaviour that is repeated, systematic and directed towards an employee or group of employees that a reasonable person, having regard to the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten and which creates a risk to health and safety.

Relevant Legislation for workplace Bullying

Bullying at a workplace in highly inappropriate and should never be tolerated and any circumstances. It is unacceptable under the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986, (the OHS&W Act) and the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1995. Even a single incident of unreasonable behaviour should not be ignored as it can lead to bullying. Workplace bullying even when not intended can have serious issues. A decided case in NSW provided a employee with a $500,000.00 payment for bullying by her manager over a period of 2 years.

The Effects of Workplace Bullying

Workplace bullying may also result in high staff turnover, low morale and insufficient productivity. Some of the other effects of bullying are unwarranted stress, ill health, inability to make decision, incapacity to work, depression, physical injury and more.

Examples of Workplace Bullying

Some examples of what may constitute bullying are reproaching of staff, targeting of particular staff, manipulating staff’s reputation by insults and gossip, and insinuation, putting someone down and requesting performance of unreasonable duties which are unreasonable. It is also commended that bullying may sometimes involve harassment or discrimination where a person unreasonably picks on a personal characteristic such as race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, religious beliefs, disability or age which causes another to feel embarrassed, humiliated, offended or intimidated. Discrimination as well as harassment can have serious consequences.

Actions that are not bullying

The categories of bullying are wide but there are also instances that are not considered as bullying. These instances include behaviour that does not break the law, reasonable supervisory practices and losing your temper.

Steps to take if you think you are being bullied

The following are some steps that can be taken when bullying occurs :-

  • Call LAC Lawyers and get the following information ready
    – check if there is a workplace bullying policy or complaint procedure in place;
    – record what happened including date, time and persons involved as well as what was said or done;
  • LAC Lawyers will then act on your behalf to make sure this behaviour stops.

Legal Options if you have been bullied

There are various legal avenues open to employees to challenge bullying behaviour and they include

  • Legislation under the Occupational Health and Safety and workers compensation law. Worker compensation claim can be made for any physical injury that associated with workplace bullying and under Occupational Health and Safety law, employers can be fined up to $550,000 and individual can be fined up to $55,000;
  • Criminal Law action for criminal prosecution for stalking, assault;
  • Common Law action e.g. negligence claim against the employer;
  • Industrial Law action e.g. claims for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, and breach of duty of care;
  • Anti discrimination and Equal Opportunity law for any bullying that is sexual, sexist racist;
  • Defamation Law; and
  • Breach of duty of good faith in a contract of employment.

At LAC Lawyers Pty Ltd, we are able to assess your situation and provide you with a comprehensive opinion as to whether you have been subject to workplace bullying and your remedies available to you. Call us today.