Updated 26/06/2023

Bullying is the most common workplace concern being dealt with by the CPSU presently. Consistently, surveys report widespread bullying. CPSU is supporting individual members in their particular pursuit of bringing bullies to task.

What is bullying

WorkSafe Victoria defines workplace bullying as:

"repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward an employee or group of employees that creates a risk to health and safety."

Unreasonable behaviour is behaviour that a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would expect to victimise, humiliate, undermine or threaten.

Behaviour includes: actions of individuals or a group; and may involve using a system or work as a means of victimising, humiliating, undermining or threatening.

Risk to health and safety includes risk to the mental or physical health of the employee. Visit the Worksafe website for more info.

What is not bullying

You are not experiencing bullying if it is is something less than the definition above. Reasonable behaviour is not bullying. Discipline is not bullying. A 'one off' conflict is not bullying (see our workplace conflict page).

Our Entitlement and Compliance Team (E&CT) will assist members with a bullying complaint by:

  1. Assessing whether or not you have a bullying complaint and if it does meet the definition
  2. Advising you on the process that can be undertaken in relation to bullying and proposing the most effective course of action having regard for your particular circumstances
  3. Negotiating with the relevant authority to make sure that the process being proposed is satisfactory
  4. Supporting you in drafting your complaint, giving evidence, and ensuring that you have been afforded procedural fairness thereby natural justice

Bullying is an Occupational Health and Safety issue. We cannot necessarily 'fix' it but we can make the employer live up to their responsibilities so that they make it stop.

Some techniques to use if you are experiencing bullying

If you think you are experiencing bullying in the workplace follow this advice:

  • Read about Bullying - what it is and what it is not. Find more info on the WorkSafe website.
  • Keep a confidential diary noting times, places and witnesses to bullying behaviour
  • Try not to be alone with the bully
  • Contact the union early
  • If you feel confident enough, talk to the bully (with a witness present) and explain what you think is unreasonable about their behaviour
  • Talk to others who may be experiencing bullying. Collective action is always stronger than individual complaints
  • Seek medical help early if you are feeling ill
  • Try relaxation techniques and leaving work at work when you walk out the door
  • If you become unwell as a result of the perceived bullying behaviour, contact CPSU Workcover officer for immediate advice

Before you call

  • Have you spoken to the local Occupational Health and Safety representative
  • Read about bullying on the WorkSafe website
  • Have your membership number ready
  • Determine what outcome you want to achieve

Contact your CPSU Organiser or contact via contact page if you have any questions or need assistance.