Bullying & violence at work

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Everyone has the right to feel safe at work without the risk of getting injured. You should never be threatened, harassed or bullied at work.

If you’re the victim of workplace violence or crime, there’s help available.

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying includes things like:

  • practical jokes
  • being criticised or insulted
  • rumours being spread about you
  • being threatened with losing your job
  • being overloaded with work.

These are only some of the ways you can be bullied.

What is workplace violence?

Workplace violence includes things like:

  • someone threatening to hurt you
  • being pushed, punched, kicked or shoved
  • having things thrown at you
  • racist or unwelcome sexual comments
  • indecent physical contact (for example, being grabbed or felt up).

This is not a complete list. Workplace violence can take other forms as well.

What you can do about it

You don't have to put up with bullying or violence. Victorian law says that you have the right to refuse to work if you’re in immediate danger.

Here are five steps you should take to deal with violence or bullying:

  1. Tell your employer what happened.
  2. Take photos of any injuries (go to the doctor and get a WorkCover medical certificate if needed).
  3. Get help and advice (see below).
  4. Report what happened to WorkSafe Victoria (new window).
  5. Keep a record of what happens to you and hang onto any evidence (like medical certificates, WorkCover claims and any physical evidence like emails or photos).

It can be hard to tackle a bully on your own. Sometimes it's hard even if you have help from friends or colleagues. If you need advice or support, people you can contact for advice include:

When is workplace violence a crime?

Some workplace violence counts as criminal behaviour and can be punishable by law.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a crime (for example, if someone causes you serious injury) you should make a statement at your local police station.

Even if no one else knows about what’s happened you should still report it to the police.

Where to find help

Call these organisations or visit their websites for advice about workplace violence or bullying: