Find help right now

Workplace anti-bullying policy

Outlining Wesley Mission's obligations regarding workplace bullying and our commitment to preventing workplace bullying.

Workplace anti-bullying policy


 1. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline Wesley Mission's obligations regarding workplace bullying and our commitment to preventing workplace bullying by providing so far as reasonably practicable healthy and safe workplaces.

2. Scope

This policy applies to Wesley Community Service Limited Board, Executive Leadership Team, Executive Managers, managers, supervisors and workers (employees, contractors or subcontractors, employees of contractors or subcontractors, employees of a labour hire company, apprentices, trainees, volunteers, students gaining work experience and others in our workplaces).

All workers are entitled to an environment without the threat of bullying or physical and emotional harm by ensuring that potential risks related to workplace bullying are identified, assessed, controlled, monitored, reviewed, reported, responded to and investigated through effective management, systems and processes.

Wesley Mission and everyone else at the workplace has a work health and safety duty, and can help to ensure that workplace bullying does not occur. Legal claims may separately be taken against workers in relation to bullying.

3. Policy statement

Wesley Mission is committed to ensuring that inappropriate behaviours, which constitute unlawful workplace bullying and creates a risk to health and safety are not tolerated and will be dealt with promptly, impartially, confidentially and within established timeframes to comply with legislative requirements.

What is bullying?

Workplace bullying is defined as repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers at work that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

Repeated behaviour refers to the persistent nature of the behaviour and can refer to a range of behaviours over time.

Unreasonable behaviour means behaviour that a reasonable person, having considered the circumstances, would see as unreasonable, including behaviour that is victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening.

Single incidents of unreasonable behaviour can also present a risk to health and safety and will not be tolerated.

What is not bullying?

Reasonable management action is not bullying, when the action to be taken is reasonable and the action carried out is in a manner that is reasonable.

Some examples are:

  • reasonable performance management
  • transferring a worker for operational reasons
  • rostering and allocating working hours where the requirements are reasonable
  • informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance in an honest, fair and constructive way
  • informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour in an objective and confidential way
  • implementing organisational changes or restructure
  • deciding not to select for promotion where a reasonable process is followed
  • disciplinary action including suspension or terminating employment.

Any reasonable management actions must be conducted in a reasonable manner. If they are not, this could also be construed as bullying.

This policy applies to inappropriate behaviours that occur:

  • in connection with work, even if it occurs outside normal working hours, days or location
  • during work activities for example when dealing with clients
  • at work-related events, for example at conferences and work related social functions
  • on social media, text messaging and email, where workers interact with colleagues or clients and their actions may affect them either directly or indirectly.

Inappropriate behaviours which constitute workplace bullying whether intentional or unintentional includes but not limited to:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • aggressive or intimidating conduct
  • practical jokes or initiation (as this can be a single incident it may depend on severity)
  • malicious sarcasm
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
  • deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources to the detriment of the worker
  • unreasonable treatment in relation to accessing entitlements such as leave and training
  • interfering with someone's personal property or work equipment.

Expected Behaviours

A worker has a statutory duty to take reasonable care to ensure their acts do not adversely affect the health and safety of others, including workers. This means all workers at Wesley Mission have the legal obligation not to bully any other person. In addition workers are required to cooperate with Wesley Mission. Workers can be prosecuted for breach of this statutory duty.

Wesley Mission expects workers to:

  • behave in a responsible and professional manner
  • treat others in the workplace with respect and courtesy
  • listen and respond appropriately to the views and concerns of others and
  • be fair and honest in their dealings that occur.

Reporting incidents of inappropriate behaviours related to workplace bullying

Inappropriate behaviours related to workplace bullying can be raised or reported verbally or in writing by:

  • by informing your supervisor, manager or the Executive Manager, Human Resources
  • utilising Wesley Mission's Internal Grievance Management procedure
  • Follow Wesley Mission’s Incident Reporting procedure.

If you witness inappropriate behaviours you must report them.

If you are experiencing workplace bullying, think you are experiencing workplace bullying, someone has alleged you are bullying them or something else at work is distressing you, you may also seek counselling and assistance using Wesley Mission's Employee Assistance Program on 1300 361 008.

Responding to reports

All bullying complaints will be treated seriously and generally in accordance with this policy and the Internal grievance management procedure and Incident reporting procedure. As each complaint will differ Wesley Mission will determine the most appropriate method of dealing with the complaint so as to comply with its obligations to provide and maintain a safe working environment. If inappropriate behaviours related to workplace bullying are reported or observed the following action may be taken:

  1. Wesley Mission will determine the best method of handling the complaint (which may include a number of possibilities including informal or facilitated discussions, mediation or an internal or external investigation, consistent with the Internal Grievance Management procedure).
  2. As far as reasonably practicable, all complaints and reports will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Wesley Mission will only discuss the complaint with third parties when it determines that this is appropriate.
  3. There will be no victimisation of the person making the report or helping to resolve it. Victimisation means subjecting a person to a detriment, for example ostracising an employee.
  4. Wesley Mission will take whatever action it considers appropriate if there has been bullying, including disciplining or dismissing offenders. Complaints made maliciously or in bad faith may result in disciplinary action. If the behaviour involves violence, for example, physical assault or the threat of physical assault, Wesley Mission may report the matter to the police.

Consequences for not complying with this policy

Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against a person who is found to have breached this policy. These measures will depend on the nature and circumstances of each breach and could include:

  • a verbal or written apology
  • one or more parties agreeing to participate in counselling, training or mediation
  • a verbal or written reprimand and/or
  • transfer, demotion or dismissal of the person engaged in the inappropriate or bullying behaviour.

If the investigation identifies that bullying has not occurred or cannot be substantiated, Wesley Mission may still take appropriate action to address any workplace issues in relation to the report.

4. Responsibility and policy owner

The policy owner is the General Manager, Wesley Corporate.

The owner is responsible for implementing the policy and achieving the desired outcomes.

Executive Leadership Team shall:

  • ensure that there are appropriate resources, systems and processes as far as is reasonably practicable, to eliminate or minimise health and safety risks arising from identified bullying situations within our workplaces
  • ensure that there is in place appropriate systems and processes to receive, manage and promptly respond to reports associated with bullying incidents, hazards and risks
  • ensure that there is in place systems and processes to comply with all our duties and obligations under the law.

Executive Managers shall:

  • ensure the workplace anti-bullying policy is implemented within our workplaces
  • ensure foreseeable bullying hazards and risks within our workplaces, are identified, risk control strategies developed, documented and implemented
  • ensure processes to receive, manage and promptly respond to reports associated with bullying incidents are implemented
  • ensure risk management strategies are implemented, monitored and reported in performance reviews.

Managers and Supervisors shall:

  • comply with the workplace anti-bullying policy within our workplaces
  • implement, monitor and review our risk management systems and processes to identify, assess and control hazards and risks associated with workplace bullying
  • promptly respond to reports of workplace bullying
  • inform and train workers in the anti-bullying policy and processes.

Work Health & Safety Committee / Health & Safety Representatives shall:

  • advise and make recommendations about workplace bullying issues to management and assist management to make informed decisions
  • analyse accident and incident records to identify any trends and make recommendations
  • support and facilitate risk assessments and prevention programs
  • conduct workplace inspections on a regular scheduled basis.

Workers shall:

  • report all incidents of workplace bullying
  • comply and cooperate with the workplace anti-bullying policy and processes, including any action to investigate allegations of bullying.

Should you require further information or assistance you can contact the Executive Manager, Wesley Human Resources.

5. General

This policy summarises some of the rights and obligations which are created by the legislation. The Policy is not intended to go beyond the legislation. This policy is not a term of any contract, including any contract of employment and does not impose any contractual duties, implied or otherwise, on Wesley Mission. This policy may be varied by Wesley Mission from time to time.

6. Consultation and approval

This policy has been developed in consultation with the Quality Risk and Compliance Review Group and the Wesley Work Health & Safety Team.

The policy has been approved by the Chief Executive Officer and the Wesley Management Committee.

Rev Keith V Garner, AM
Chief Executive Officer
June 2017

Related links

Donate because every life matters