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Identify bullying

What is bullying?

According to the Industrial Relations Act 2016, an employee is bullied in the workplace if:

  • while the employee is at work, an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behave unreasonably towards the employee or a group of employees of which the employee is a member, and that behaviour creates a risk to the health and safety of the employee.
  • reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner is not bullying.

Report bullying

If you witness or experience bullying, please report it using your agency bullying procedures or contact your local human resource team for advice.

1. Overt bullying examples

Overt bullying refers to actions that are:

  • Verbal abuse, shouting or swearing at staff or colleagues (either in public or private)
  • Using personal insults
  • Humiliating or ridiculing others, belittling them in front of others, criticism or sarcasm
  • Using open aggression, threats, abuse, and obscenities, shouting and uncontrolled anger
  • Persecuting through threats and fear
  • Physical attacks
  • Making threats or inappropriate comments about career prospects, job security or performance appraisal reports
  • Sexual Harassment (see Anti-Discrimination Act 1991)

2. Covert bullying examples

Covert bullying refers to actions that are:

  • Excessive supervision, micro managing, monitoring everything they do, excessive criticism
  • Taking the credit for the other person’s work
  • Not admitting blame or implicating others for own mistakes
  • Personal insults and name-calling, spreading malicious rumours
  • Freezing out, ignoring, excluding and isolating
  • Not listening to other’s point of view or cutting across people in conversation
  • Overruling an individual’s authority without prior warning or proper discussion
  • Removing whole areas of work responsibility from a person, or reducing their job to routine tasks which are well below their skills and capabilities
  • Setting impossible targets and objectives, or changing targets without telling the person
  • Withholding information deliberately which the person requires in order to do their job effectively

3. Cyber bullying examples

Cyber bullying refers to actions that are:

  • Posting hurtful messages, images or videos online
  • Repeatedly sending unwanted messages online
  • Creating fake social networking profiles or websites that are hurtful
  • Any other form of digital communication which is discriminatory, intimidating, intended to cause hurt or make someone fear for their safety