Browse our resources below to help you
identify potential bullying behaviour and
how to prevent and report bullying.
Please do call our helpline if you need
support or advice on dealing with bullying.
WorkSafe Victoria defines bullying as “repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards an 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), or 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 typically include some or all of the following1,2:
The main thing to consider when trying to work out whether a behaviour constitutes bullying is if it forms part of a repeated pattern of behaviour. One isolated incident is not generally considered bullying. There is a video below that further explains bullying, and there is more information about ways to address bullying.
Browse through the topics below to find out more about bullying and how to deal with it.
1. Quine L. Workplace bullying in NHS community trust: staff questionnaire survey. BMJ. 1999 Jan 23;318(7178):228-32.
2. WorkSafe Victoria
It is important to recognise the situation if you are a victim of bullying.
If you are being bullied at work, you might:
There are some specific links in the tab at the bottom of this page to direct you to FairWork Australia, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and each state and territory Worksafe/Safework website. You can also go to your own state Worksafe website and search ‘bullying’ to be directed to other resources.
Some other options are:
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.
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.
While the video above discusses this, it can be confusing trying to work out what constitutes bullying and what does not.
Sometimes experiences at work can be uncomfortable for those involved, but this does not necessarily mean that workplace bullying has taken place. Pharmacies can be a stressful place in which to work and sometimes, when people are under pressure, differences of opinion, disagreements, interpersonal conflicts, and personality clashes can happen. Employees may also feel upset or undervalued from time to time. These events, while unpleasant, do not generally constitute bullying. A single incident is not bullying, although sometimes conflicts do have the potential to escalate into bullying if they go unchecked. Similarly, instances of performance management are not usually considered to be workplace bullying, if they are done in a fair and reasonable manner.
Managers have the right to direct workers, monitor performance and timeliness, and provide feedback. Some examples of reasonable management action include:
Workplace bullying occurs when: ‘an individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work, AND the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety’ (Fair Work Commission, Fair Work Act s.789FD(1)).
However, reasonable management action conducted in a reasonable manner does not constitute workplace bullying. Click here to read more at Fair Work Australia.
Sometimes, unreasonable behaviour may involve discrimination or sexual harassment, which is not bullying by itself, but is unlawful and you can seek support for these issues from Fair Work Australia. You can also click here to read more at Safe Work Australia. If behaviour includes violence, threats, stalking, or sexual assault, you can contact your local police by calling 000 within Australia.
If you have been harassed or bullied and you believe this was due to your sex, disability, race, age, sexual preference, religion, criminal record, trade union activity or political opinion, or if you have experienced any sexual harassment, you can contact the Australian Human Rights Commission on 1300 656 419 (local call) or 02 9284 9888, or email email@example.com. There is more information available here.
If you are unsure whether something constitutes bullying in your workplace, check your local state authority website for more information – most will have a number you can call. The details for each state can be found at the bottom of this page. For confidential support or a listening ear, you can call us between 8am – 11pm AEDT every day.
PSS in partnership with Vitality Law Australia and the AJP has produced this webinar aimed at all members of the pharmacy profession, equipping you to deal with bullying in the pharmacy workplace. In this webinar, we are joined by a commercial lawyer and a psychologist who is a former community and hospital pharmacist, who share their expertise on the topic of bullying.
Click here to watch the webinar on the AJP website.
|Fair Work Commission
|Fair Work Ombudsman
|Australian Human Rights Commission
|Australian Psychological Society
Support for Pharmacists 2021
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