What to do if workplace bullying happens to you

Being bullied or know of someone being bullied at work? Guidance on this page can help employees take action in cases of workplace bullying. The guidance also explains how WorkSafe can help and what to expect from a WorkSafe inspector.

On this page

  • Workplace bullying definition
  • What you can do
  • How can WorkSafe help me?
  • What a WorkSafe inspector can do

Workplace bullying definition

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed at an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety.

What you can do

Below is a list of actions you might wish to take if you feel you are experiencing bullying at work. The course of action you choose will depend on the nature of the bullying and your workplace.

  • If you can, tell the person the behaviour is unreasonable/inappropriate, that you are offended and want it to stop.
  • Get advice from your health and safety representative (HSR).
  • Keep a record of events that includes the names of people involved, for example, witnesses. Make sure the records focus on the facts of the situation, what happened, including dates and times and, if possible, copies of any documents.
  • Use the workplace or occupational health and safety (OHS) procedure to report the situation.
  • Seek professional counselling and/or advice.
  • Talk to people you trust at your workplace, for example, a supervisor, manager, HSR, union representative or someone from human resources.

How can WorkSafe help me?

Employees experiencing bullying at work or who have left a job because of bullying can contact the WorkSafe Advisory service. Other people, for example, HSRs, union representative and family members, can also contact the advisory services for an employee experiencing bullying.

The advisory service can provide information on:

  • bullying and how to prevent it
  • how to raise the issue of bullying in the workplace
  • how to initiate a workplace intervention by a WorkSafe inspector, if appropriate

What a WorkSafe inspector can do

The action of an inspector during a workplace intervention will depend on the nature of the bullying and the workplace. Inspector actions can include:

  • attending the workplace to make inquiries, including reviewing relevant documentation
  • talking to/interviewing complainants and witnesses
  • talking to/interviewing the employer/management representative
  • examining what measures are in place at a workplace to prevent bullying
  • providing advice on how to comply with OHS laws
  • requiring remedial action where there are breaches of OHS laws
  • recommending a comprehensive investigation to determine whether a breach of OHS laws has occurred and whether it may warrant prosecution or alternative punishment