Bullying and Harassment

Everyone deserves a safe place to work. Find more about what bullying and harassment looks like and what you can do about it.

What you need to know

It’s against the law for anyone to bully, sexually harass, or discriminate against another person at work. Everyone has the right to a safe and healthy work environment.

The AWU condemns all forms of harassment, bullying, and discrimination.

What is Bullying & Harassment?

Bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety and includes verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated, or intimidated. This includes behaviour such as:

  • making sexually explicit comments including those about a person’s appearance;
  • displaying or circulating sexually explicit material including via email, text, or posters;
  • staring or leering in a sexual manner or unwelcome wolf whistling;
  • sexual or physical contact such as slapping, kissing, hugging and massaging;
  • comments or intrusive questions about a person’s sexual activity;
  • unwanted sexual advances and requests for sexual favours; and
  • sexual assault (also a crime under the Crimes Act).

What’s discrimination?

Discrimination occurs at a workplace when a worker or a group of workers is treated less favourably than another worker or group because of their background or certain personal characteristics such as age, race, religious/political views, disability, or gender.

Don’t be a silent victim to bullying and harassment

If someone is behaving in a bullying, harassing or discriminatory way, ask them to stop. If this approach doesn’t work or is not practical, check your workplace bullying and harassment policy and follow the steps to report and make a complaint about the behaviour.

If the bullying or harassment is violent or threatening it may be a criminal offence. Contact the Police immediately on 000.

What can I do if I need help?

If you’re experiencing a problem with your pay, read on to find out more information on what you can do. To access this information you need to be a HSA member. It’s easy to join.

Steps to take if you need help

1st step. Have you been bullied, harassed or discriminated against?  If you’re unsure book a call or chat with us.

2nd step. Ask them to stop. If someone is behaving in a bullying, harassing or discriminatory way, ask them to stop and call out the behaviour. We understand that every situation is different, and it might not always be possible to do this, or it might not work. If this is the case, please book a call with us for advice.

3rd step: Be clear on your outcome. What outcome are you seeking? Is it a realistic outcome? Are there any other outcomes you would be happy with?

4th step: Professional advice & Support. Book a call to get in touch with one of our legal officers for advice and support on how to handle the situation.

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