Workplace bullying labour hire case study

This case study reinforces the need for communication between agencies and host employers, and to adopt clear policies, procedures and communication to ensure employee safety.



A labour hire agency places two employees with a host that was known for having a collaborative Human Resources (HR) director who delivered an outstanding program of on-site induction.

A recent restructure results in the appointment of a new HR director.


One of the agency employees was being bullied by her line manager, who was a direct employee of the host.

The employee had previously spoken with a HR officer at the host workplace who said they would investigate but she became disheartened when she didn’t hear back from them.

Next steps

After being informed by the employee of the bullying, the agency manager met with the employee who had documented her treatment over a three month period.

The agency manager contacted the host's new HR director to arrange a meeting, and was advised that the employee was a trouble-maker who had no right to accuse her line manager of any wrongdoing. When the agency manager said the employee had documented the behaviour, the HR director dismissed it as untrue.


After her attempts to communicate the employee's concerns to the HR director were unsuccessful, the agency manager decided to pull both her employees from the host as she was concerned the HR director was contributing to an unsafe culture of workplace bullying.

Agency improvements

  • Conduct regular visits to the host workplace to identify new risks to health and safety.
  • Meet regularly with the host to discuss any issues or concerns, and record any agreed resolution.
  • Have clear policies and procedures that are understood by employees about the steps to follow if there are unresolved health and safety concerns or issues for labour hire employees.

Host improvements

  • Ensure clear and regular communication with the agency when carrying out an incident investigation.
  • Enter negotiations with the agency to improve risk controls as requested.
  • Integrate and support labour hire employees in the workplace.
  • Provide OHS training and induction to all labour hire employees.
  • Provide a method for all employees to report hazards, incidents or other OHS issues in the workplace, such as via their Health and Safety Representative.
  • Train peer support officers to provide support to all employees during and after times of professional and personal distress.

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