Workplace bullying

Workplace bullying can only impact a business negatively. It is imperative to be on the ball and stringent in creating an open and inclusive work environment for all who come into contact with the business.

According to the Fair Work Ombudsman, workplace bullying is defined as any repeated behaviour towards an individual or individuals by another individual or individuals that is unreasonable and causes any risk to health or safety.

The ability to appreciate the difference between reasonable and unreasonable behaviour is important; it needs to be clearly articulated to all individuals who will be in contact with the business.

According to Safe Work Australia, examples of reasonable behaviour include:

  • Transferring a team member to another department.
  • Reviewing employee performance.
  • Discussing unreasonable behaviour conducted by an employee with said employee in a private setting.
  • Setting clear and reasonable employment goals.

Examples of unreasonable behaviours that can be classified as workplace bullying include:

  • Any abusive, derogatory or insulting comments or remarks.
  • Deliberate and obvious exclusion of an employee/s.
  • Creating unrealistic and unachievable performance goals and deadlines.
  • Discrimination and sexual harassment.
  • Physical violence.

It is your responsibility as a business owner to create an atmosphere in which all staff are aware of your expectations of them in terms of behaviour. The business should consist of appropriate reporting channels should any incidents of workplace bullying arise to protect those involved. An established procedure should be developed to follow in all instances of bullying. The procedure should include easy and confidential reporting methods, mediation and ongoing monitoring of how effective management of the incident has been.

While it is not a legal responsibility, you should also take time to monitor your online presence to ensure that all followers on your social media platforms are speaking in a manner that mimics the values and philosophy of the business. You should make it clear that trolling or bullying behaviour on posts will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

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