Federal inquiry into bullying

The federal inquiry into bullying found that workplace bullying has profound effects on peoples’ health and their work and personal lives. Bullying costs the country dearly, too. According to the productivity commission, we lose between $6 billion and $36 billion annually (a pretty wide gap!)

In late November, the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Education and Employment released its report into bullying, Workplace Bullying: We just want it to stop. The report makes 23 recommendations, including setting up a national service to advise on what constitutes bullying and how to deal with it. This service should also include a hotline for both employees and employers to find out how to prevent and resolve bullying, provide online training packages for employers, and provide on-site help for workplaces where bullying is known to be rife. The report also recommended stronger legislation and regulatory frameworks, including making serious bullying a criminal offence.

Recommended actions for business include improving workplace cultures and following the draft Code of Practice: Managing the Risk of Workplace Bullying.

Discussion questions

What is your organisation’s policy on bullying? Do you know what to do if someone complains they’re being bullied? Can you recognise the signs of bullying?