Pharmacists' Support Service 1300 244 910

We offer support related to the many demands of being a pharmacist in Australia.

PSS Bullying

WorkSafe Victoria defines bullying as “repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards and employee or group of employees, which creates a risk to health, both mental and physical, and safety.” For example workplace bullying is when you are verbally, physically, socially or psychologically hurt by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work. Generally bullying is repetitive and an ongoing event often with minor actions which accumulate to create a hostile work environment.

Bullying Behaviours include 1:

  • Threat to professional status
  • Threat to personal standing
  • Isolation
  • Overwork
  • Destabilisation

How bullying can affect your work

If you are being bullied at work, you might:

  • be less productive
  • be less confident in your work
  • feel scared, stressed, anxious or depressed
  • have your life outside of work affected, e.g. study, relationships
  • want to stay away from work (more than usual)
  • feel unable to trust your employer or the people you work with
  • lack confidence and self-esteem in yourself and your work
  • have physical symptoms of stress such as headaches, backaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, anxiety and sleep problems.

Some tips for addressing bullying:

It is important to recognise the situation if you are a victim of bullying.

  • Make sure you're informed - find out what the organisation's policies and procedures are for preventing and handling bullying.
  • Keep a diary documenting everything that happens, including times, dates, what was said, what was done and who was there and what you've done to try stop it.
  • Tell someone. Report directly to your employer, a supervisor/manager.
  • If the person doing the bullying is your employer or they do not do anything to stop it, it's important that you involve a third party
  • External information and advice, e.g. from the union representing your industry (Professional Pharmacists of Australia or other union such as the Association of Hospital Pharmacists in Victoria). These organisations can give you advice on your options and your rights.

What to do if you think someone is being bullied:

  • Let them know you care and help them feel good about themselves
  • Include the person into your group or activities
  • If you see someone is being bullied, it may be helpful to stick up for them ensuring that you don't make the situation worse or put yourself in danger

Working it out yourself – some tips!

Depending on how bad the bullying is (and as long as you aren't feeling unsafe, frightened or physically threatened), you might decide to try and work it out yourself first.

  1. Avoid the bully if possible. Walk away when approached and try thinking of something else
  2. Stay positive - use positive self-talk
  3. Hang around other people
  4. Be confident – think of the things you do well in and remember you’re a valuable person

Preventing bullying:

Everyone has the right to work in an environment free from bullying, harassment, discrimination and violence. Raising awareness and education, training and publicity are important steps in preventing bullying. Open communication between staff and management are also essential and will enable potential conflict between staff members to be identified and dealt with quickly and effectively. Organisations which have policies and procedures in place which are well known and understood by employees are better able to prevent and deal with any potential bullying by being pro-active.

Useful Links:

Fair Work Commission - https://www.fwc.gov.au/
https://www.fwc.gov.au/disputes-at-work/anti-bullying

Fair Work Ombudsman - https://www.fairwork.gov.au/
https://www.fairwork.gov.au/employee-entitlements/bullying-and-harassment

Australian Human Rights Commission - http://www.humanrights.gov.au/
https://www.humanrights.gov.au/quick-guide/11995
https://www.humanrights.gov.au/workplace-bullying-violence-harassment-and-bullying-fact-sheet

WorkSafe Victoria - http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au
http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/forms-and-publications/forms-and-publications/preventing-and-responding-to-bullying-at-work

Australian Psychological Society - http://www.psychology.org.au/
http://www.psychology.org.au/inpsych/bullying_work/
http://www.psychology.org.au/publications/inpsych/workplace_bullying/

1. Quine L. Workplace bullying in NHS community trust: staff questionnaire survey. BMJ. 1999 Jan 23;318(7178):228-32.