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Bullying at School or Work

Posted 25th May, 2023

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What do to if you are being bullied at work

Bullying at work is sadly very frequent with 90% of the New Zealand workforce saying they had been at the receiving end of intermittent bullying, and over 40% of Australians saying they had experienced bullying, harassment or discrimination.

Bullying can have a massive impact on your mental wellbeing as well as your performance at work. It can also affect your sleep, make you feel fatigued, and lead to depression.

Tips for dealing with bullying

So how do you cope if you are being bullied at work -

  1. Understand what bullying is – first of all, it is important to understand what constitutes bullying. A one-off incident, for example, is not bullying. Bullying is a consistent pattern of behaviour that can either be verbal or physical. It can include things like personal attacks, criticism, humiliation and exclusion. See the resources below for more information.

  2. Speak up – as hard as it may be, the bullying will not stop unless you say something. If you do not feel comfortable talking to your manager, or they are the bully, speak to your HR team, a health and safety representative, or a member of the company’s leadership team. Organisations have a duty to keep their people safe so must act on any complaints.

  3. Take notes – keep a written record of all the incidents that have occurred noting the date, time, what happened and if there were any witnesses. This will help with an investigation, avoid any misunderstandings, and enable you to provide specific examples of what has been happening.

  4. Get legal advice – if you do not believe that the complaint is being dealt with properly, you may choose to seek legal advice. The links below provide information about local community law centres in New Zealand and Australia as a starting point.

  5. Talk to someone – talking to friends and family may help you to work through the bullying issues you are experiencing. Many employers also have EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) where you can get free counselling sessions.

  6. Get out if needed – if the bullying continues and/or is not resolved satisfactorily then you may need to think about looking for another job. Your wellbeing is the most important thing.

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