If your workplace has become unsafe because of bullying and harassment by your bosses or co-workers you can do something about it.
Please watch the video above where Kate explains exactly what to do if you are being bullied at work.
Bullying and harassment can take many forms including abuse, overload of work, and unreasonable expectations in performance of duties. You should approach your immediate superior in the first instance to complain and see if the problem can be fixed. If after several such requests the problem is not fixed you can take a grievance.
You may raise a personal grievance under different statutes depending on the nature of the bullying or harassment. We can help you at the outset to try and resolve your problem and we can help you with your grievance and subsequent progress towards a solution.
Bullying is hard to prove. Just because you feel bullied it doesn’t mean you have a case, but just because it is hard to prove it doesn’t mean you don’t.
What Workplace Bullying IS:
- Repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker that can lead to physical or psychological harm.
- Repeated behaviour occurs more than once and can involve a range of actions over time.
- Unreasonable behaviour means actions that a reasonable person in the same circumstances would see as unreasonable. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person.
- Bullying may also include harassment (including sexual harassment), discrimination or violence.
What is NOT Workplace Bullying:
- One-off or occasional instances of forgetfulness, rudeness or tactlessness.
- Setting high performance standards.
- Constructive feedback and legitimate advice or peer review.
- A manager requiring reasonable verbal or written work instructions to be carried out.
- Warning or disciplining workers in line with the business’ or undertaking’s code of conduct.
- A single incident of unreasonable behaviour.
- Reasonable management actions delivered in a reasonable way.
- Differences in opinion or personality clashes that do not escalate into bullying, harassment or violence.
We must be able to prove that the bully caused harm and also intended to cause harm on more than one occasion.
You will be expected to have kept records of the incidents and to have told someone else, preferably management.
Am I being bullied?
A lot of behaviour by our boss or colleagues may feel like bullying. A lot of this “bullying” could also be described as unpleasant behaviour, this can cause a lot of stress and even anxiety but it might not be bullying.
- Unreasonable, including: humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person
- Harassment, discrimination or violence
Bullying is not:
- Occasional rudeness or one off incidents of unreasonable behaviour
- High performance standards
- Constructive feedback or advice
- Requests for extra work to be done\Warning or disciplining workers according to the code of conduct
- An argument or difference of opinion (as long as it doesn’t become aggressive)
What do i do if i am being bullied at work?
You should find out if there are any workplace policies or processes for reporting bullying and follow these. There may be specific and trained people in your workplace who know how to deal with these issues in a sensitive way.
If there is no set process or procedure you should do the following:
Make a note every time something happens. Notes should record dates and times, and what was said or done, who was there, and how it made you feel.
You will then need to make your employer aware of the situation
Ideally you would raise the issue in writing.
Who do I raise it with?
It depends on who is bullying you. If it is another employee, you should first raise the matter with your manager or supervisor, or the next level of management if the offender is your manager.
If the person who is bullying you is the Owner of the company, or the manager and there is nobody else to tell you can call us on 0800NOWINNOFEE and we will advise you or assist you.
What should happen after I report that I am being bullied?
After receiving your complaint the business should:
- Support you and the person you have complained about
- Decide on a plan for investigation, including possibly suspending the person who is being investigated
- Give guidance on how to continue to work with the person
- Report back to you about the steps that have been taken
I reported the bullying and now things are much worse! What do I do now?
Sadly this is what sometimes happens. You have done the right thing by reporting the issues because that makes it easier for us to help you. Give us a call as soon as possible and tell us what’s happening and we will try to help.
If you want to know what the risks of not dealing with bullying in the workplace quickly are you should listen to this podcast:
Bullying Formal Complaint Form
If the bullying is not an immediate threat to your health and you know your employer is not yet aware of the situation you can use this form to raise a formal complaint:
Work Safe NZ have forms you can complete to give to your manager, or to your HR department. This is to make sure your employer is aware of the bullying situation, and gives them the opportunity to respond. These complaint forms have been provided for workers to report bullying or other upsetting behaviour to their businesses. The assessment form can assess how well your business prevents and responds to bullying. Click here for the Work Safe forms.
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