What is Not Considered to be Workplace Bullying?

Many things that happen at work are generally not considered to be bullying, although some experiences can be uncomfortable for those involved. Differences of opinion, performance management, conflicts and personality clashes can happen in any workplace, but usually they do not result in bullying.

A single incident of unreasonable behaviour is not bullying, although it may have the potential to escalate into bullying and therefore should not be ignored.

Reasonable management action, carried out in a fair way, is not bullying. Managers have a right to direct the way work is carried out and to monitor and give feedback on performance, but the way that this is done is a risk factor in determining the likelihood of bullying occurring.

Examples of reasonable management action include:

  • Setting reasonable performance goals, standards and deadlines in consultation with workers and after considering their respective skills and experience
  • Allocating work to a worker in a transparent way
  • Fairly rostering and allocating working hours
  • Transferring a worker for legitimate and explained operational reasons
  • Deciding not to select a worker for promotion, following a fair and documented process
  • Informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance in a constructive way and in accordance with any workplace policies or agreements
  • Informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential way
  • Implementing organisational changes or restructuring, and
  • Performance management processes.

Harassment and Discrimination

Harassment involves intimidating, offending or humiliating behaviour directed toward a person on the basis of a particular personal characteristic such as race, age or gender.

Discrimination involves the unfair treatment of a person based on a personal characteristic, for example not hiring or promoting a woman to a position because she may become pregnant or has children.

Unlike bullying, harassment and discrimination do not have to be repeated and have to be based on some characteristic of the target.

Discrimination and harassment are dealt with separately under anti-discrimination, industrial and human rights laws.  The WHS Act includes specific protections against discriminatory conduct for persons raising health and safety concerns or performing legitimate safety-related functions.

A worker can be bullied, harassed and discriminated against at the same time.

Human Resources: Harassment in the Workplace

When one hears talk of “bullying”, initial thoughts can automatically equate the word with elementary school, wedgies, and being picked on by the “bigger kid”. However, bullying is a very real reality for many people – adults included—and it is still every bit as wrong as it was in elementary school. The only difference is that the school has been swapped with an office building, or a factory, or any other kind of workplace. While wedgies may not be the norm, and your lunch money may not be at risk, bullying can be every bit  as demeaning as it was in school.

 What is Workplace Bullying?

Workplace bullying includes verbal, physical, psychological abuse conducting by a higher up office employee (or employer) or another person (s) at work. If you (or a fellow employee)  are constantly subjected to hurtful remark that demean you, your work,  or really any characteristic that you identify with; then it is considered workplace bullying. If you are a manager, not dealing with workplace bullying can cause your employees to be less active, less confident, depressed, and isolated.

It is important to receive the proper Human Resources training in order to ensure that your business maintains its Workplace Compliance requirements. Moreover, it is important for employees to receive the training to ensure the well-being of all employees which subsequently would ensure that performance stays on top.Managers who have received quality training will know how to identify and deal with bullying in the workplace. Having the quality knowledge from a Bully Prevention Training course will teach you or your employees how to look out for the signs of bullying so that it can be avoided all-together.

Other Forms of harassment in the workplace include; sexual harassment and discrimination.

Sexual Harassment can include any unwelcomed physical contact, overtly sexual comments, sex based insults as well as other  inappropriate and uncomfortable acts.
It is the responsibility of the employee to ensure the well-being of employees and thus, free of sexual harassment. Having the right training in sexual harassment can teach people to understand their rights and responsibilities as dictated by the equal opportunity and discrimination legislation.

Discrimination is another form of harassment in the workplace. Receiving the proper training would provide the knowledge needed to comprehend what inappropriate workplace behaviour is, and how to avoid it. Training in discrimination and equal employment opportunity (EEO) would ensure that employees are compliant with the anti-discrimination legislation, and would enable participants to receive a Certificate of Competency. Discrimination awareness will teach people to treat everyone with respect and without harassment.

If you or an employee initially does not like the job, then they definitely don’t want to be bullied  as well. Alertforce’s Compliance Certified Human Resource courses will teach participants how to identify, deal with, and essentially—prevent workplace harassment; while maintaining a productive workforce.

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