Bullying at work is defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour towards an employee or a group of employees that creates a risk to their health and safety. It can take variety of forms, including:
- Unreasonable demands, petty rules, targets or key performance indicators
- Compulsory overtime, unfair rostering or allocation of work
- Constant intrusive surveillance or monitoring
- Having no say in how one’s job is done
- Abusive language, shouting and intimidation
- Being ignored or excluded
- Being threatened with the sack or demotion
Bullying can lead to loss of sleep, muscle ache, nausea, depression, anxiety, headaches, digestive difficulties, irritability and anger. If you show any of these signs then you need to do something about it. The first thing is too see a doctor. You need to put your own health first. The second thing is to tell your boss about it. And the third is to tell the union or an elected Health and Safety Representative at your workplace.
Harassment and discrimination
Bullying may also take the form of harassment on grounds of discrimination. That is, bullying can be accompanied by a worker being targeted on grounds of their gender, ethnicity, age, health, sexuality, religion, or a number of other grounds. Workers who are experiencing discriminatory treatment can lodge an equal opportunity complaint.
Bullying may also come in the form of sexual harassment. If you are being sexually intimidated or harassed at work, as well as following the above procedures, you should notify the police. Any harassment at work that involves being physically abused should be reported to the police immediately and you have a right to leave the workplace for your own safety.
Contact the union
All workers have a right to a safe and healthy work environment. Unsafe working conditions can lead to serious health complications for workers. The Health Professionals Union takes your safety at work very seriously. Please contact us if you need any advice or assistance.