Workplace Bullying and Discrimination

Workplace bullying and discrimination can occur throughout the employment process from a potential employee getting hired up until the decision of terminating an employee’s employment contract. It provides great negative effects on morale and productivity and can also increase an employee’s use of leave to avoid work.

We can help ensure you are compliant with legal requirements and meeting high standards for employees to ensure workplace bullying and discrimination may not occur. We can also help resolve any disputes with employees regarding workplace bullying and discrimination brought up against you.

We handle all workplace bullying an discrimination queries, for any questions regarding a potential or current dispute regarding workplace bullying, contact us today using the form below or calling us at 0893215451

We also assist in HR advice, employment training and investigation, unfair termination and dismissals, workplace dispute resolution and contract drafting – you can seek information on these services on a main Bailiwick Workplace page.

Philip Brunner Specialist Lawyer

Philip Brunner

Bailiwick Legal Director

Kim Jones Solicitor Bailiwick Legal

Kimberly Jones

Bailiwick Legal Solicitor

Brian Liau, Solicitor Bailiwick Legal

Brian Liau

Bailiwick Legal Solicitor


Workplace bullying is the repeated unreasonable behavior and abuse of power repeatedly directed at one or more worker that can result in humiliation, distress and intimidation. It can be directed from employee to employee, managers to workers and vice-versa in many forms including verbal abuse, cyber-bullying, sexual harassment, spreading rumours and public humiliation.

Workplace discrimination differs from workplace bullying in that a person is affected when an employer takes actions against a worker or potential worker due to their protected attribute which can include race, sex, gender, age, religion etc.

Discrimination can be direct or indirect, with direct discrimination involves a person being unfairly treated because of their attribute (i.e. not letting an older employee apply for a promotion) whilst indirect discrimination is where there is a requirement or rule that seems neutral, but affects a particular group of people with a personal attribute.

Employers must ensure to respond to workplace bullying in a legal and fair manner to ensure no repercussions comes out of the situation as well as ensuring a safe workplace. Tips for what an employer should do would be to:

  • Act promptly: Respond to the complaint as son as possible after becoming aware of your employee’s problem.
  • Ensure an investigation is unbiased: When investigating a complaint, ensure it is carried out by an experience, unbiased person. An appropriate person to look for is most likely in the human resources department. An external investigator should be used if you don’t have someone suitable internally.
  • Maintain confidentiality: Do not share details of the matter with those not involved.
  • Do not victimize: Protect the person accused and witnesses from victimization.
  • Ensure procedural fairness: The person who is alleged to have acted inappropriately should be treated innocent until proven otherwise. Allow them a chance to respond and explain their side of the story and do not carry out punishments until a set decision is made.
  • Promote support and assistance: After a report for workplace bullying is made, ensure everyone involved is told what support is available to them, such as employee assistance programs.

Depending on your situation, seeking legal advice may be appropriate, especially from a lawyer with workers’ compensation experience.

  • If you have suffered psychological and/or physical harm from workplace bullying, you can lodge a WorkCover claim which covers a range of injuries physical and psychological. Your WorkCover may entitle you to receive weekly payments for time off work and payment of your medical and or therapy expenses.
  • If you have not suffered psychological or physical harm from workplace bullying, you can seek an employment lawyer that can provide advice on workplace harassment, discrimination and bullying.
  • If you have had your WorkCover claim rejected or have been off work due to workplace bullying and harassment, a lawyer can discuss your situation further and advice you on how to deal with your situation effectively.