Everyone has the right to feel safe at work
Bullying and harassment in any form is unacceptable. If you or someone you know is being harassed or bullied in the workplace, there are a number of steps you can take.
If you’ve suffered physical or psychological harm as a result of workplace harassment or bullying, you should lodge a Workers’ Compensation claim as soon as possible. Workers’ Compensation covers a broad range of physical and psychological injuries.
If your claim is accepted, then you may be entitled to receive weekly payments for your time off work, payment of your medical and life expenses, and in some cases, lump sum compensation.
If you haven’t suffered psychological or physical harm as a result of workplace harassment or bullying, there are still things you can do. Our Employment Law team can provide you with advice on a wide range of challenges at work, including workplace harassment, discrimination, bullying and adverse action.
Understanding workplace bullying and workplace harassment
Bullying and harassment in the workplace involves repetitive behaviour that causes humiliation, offence, intimidation or distress to another person. It can take many forms, such as public humiliation, verbal abuse, cyber bullying, harassment or spreading malicious rumours, or exclusion from workplace events.
Workplace bullying and harassment can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health, such as:
- Severe psychological distress, sleep disturbances and anxiety
- General ill-health such as stomachaches and headaches
- Unable to work to full capacity
- Loss of self-confidence, self-esteem and sometimes even suicidal behaviour.
In some circumstances, if you’ve suffered injuries or illnesses as a result of being bullied at work, you may be entitled to a range of benefits and compensation under the Workers’ Compensation scheme.
Understanding workplace discrimination
Workplace discrimination is when someone is treated differently or less favourably because of a personal attribute, such as:
Gender, such as whether you’re female or male, and includes sexual orientation and gender identity
The discrimination may occur at your place of work or at workplace events and can be physical or psychological.
When to seek legal advice
Depending on your situation, you may need to seek legal advice from a lawyer with expertise in workplace law. We have an experienced team of lawyers who can help you understand your rights and what you could be entitled to.
If you’ve suffered physical or psychological harm as a result of bullying and discrimination – you can use our Free Claim Check to find out if you might have a Workers’ Compensation claim.
You can also speak with our Employment Law team to see what other options you might have, even if you haven't suffered physical or psychological harm.
Steps to take if you’re being bullied or discriminated at work
If you can, firmly and politely let the person know that their behaviour is unreasonable and ask them to stop. You can ask your supervisor, health and safety representative or union representative to be with you when you do this.
Keep a factual record of events that include what happened, dates, times, who was involved, names of witnesses and where possible, copies of any documents.
Contact your health and safety officer, human resources officer or union representative at your work who should be able to provide helpful advice on your unique situation, including an outline of how your workplace deals with workplace bullying and discrimination and what strategies they have in place to prevent it.
If the other person does not stop their bullying or discriminatory behavior, you may report it to your supervisor or manager, your health and safety officer or your union representative. If you work in an organisation governed by the Fair Work Act, you may also apply to the Fair Work Commission for an order to stop the bullying.
If you feel that you need more support in your situation or simply need more information, Slater and Gordon can help you understand your rights and work with you on your next steps. We can listen to your concerns and provide you with the help you need.
You should contact us if:
- You’ve been subjected to bullying or discrimination at work
- You’ve suffered a psychological injury as a result of bullying or discrimination at work
- Your WorkCover claim has been rejected
- Your employer is pressuring you to return to work
- Your employer's insurer won't pay for a particular expense
- You've never received advice about a workplace injury caused by bullying or harassment
- You just want to know where you stand within the law.
You can meet with your lawyer in a way that’s most convenient for you. You can usually choose to do it either in person, via video conference or phone call. To help you understand the process a little better, you can read more about what to expect when meeting your lawyer for the first time.
We’re on your side
At Slater and Gordon our experienced team of lawyers have achieved excellent outcomes for many workers and their families.
Our priority at Slater and Gordon is to help you:
- Feel supported during this process
- Understand your rights and entitlements
- Get assistance with disputes which may arise with your Workers’ Compensation insurer
- Maximise your compensation
- Receive clear and accurate advice about your prospects of success