SafeWork's role - what we can do

If you are being bullied at work and you believe your own or other workers’ health and safety in the workplace is at risk, including from psychological harm, contact us on 13 10 50 for advice.

Before you call us check that what is occurring to you is workplace bullying. If it falls outside our definition, we won’t be able to help you. However, in most situations of workplace bullying we will be able to help.

You can complete our workplace bullying form online or call 13 10 50.

Your web browser must be updated to the latest version to ensure online forms are submitted correctly. You can also request a hard copy form by calling 13 10 50.

What we can do

We can only act on situations that fall within the scope of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act).

This includes verifying an employer or business is:

  • consulting with workers about work health and safety
  • providing and maintaining a work environment that is without risks to health and safety
  • providing and maintaining safe work processes
  • monitoring the health and safety of workers and the conditions at the workplace
  • providing appropriate information, instruction, training or supervision to allow work to be carried out safely.

What we can’t do

We will not be able to:

  • mediate between the workplace parties involved
  • provide legal advice
  • provide emotional counselling
  • order the employer or business to discipline the alleged bully or terminate their employment
  • take sides
  • deal with industrial matters or discrimination
  • issue an order to stop bullying behaviour – the Fair Work Commission have powers to issue these orders if required.

What you can expect from us

Once you have submitted your form, we will:

  • acknowledge in writing that we have received your request
  • contact you for more information if necessary
  • assess your information and the circumstances of your request, and decide on the most appropriate action in line with our compliance policy and prosecution guidelines
  • contact your workplace by letter, phone or with an inspection
  • be transparent with the workplace about why contact is being made and what their obligations are under the WHS Act. If a visit is undertaken, the inspector will make enquiries to:
    • assess your employer’s compliance with their health and safety obligations in relation to the alleged bullying issues.
  • respond to your request within 10 working days from receipt of your request
  • keep you informed of progress, and when finalised, provide you with the outcome, the reason for the decision and any actions taken, usually via a phone call
  • ensure that our decisions and actions are reasonable, fair and appropriate to the circumstances, based on consideration of all relevant legislation, policies and procedures.

Your confidentiality

If you have made a request for your identity to remain confidential, we will not disclose any information to your workplace that may identify you. However, your employer and work colleagues will make assumptions about who has raised the issue with us. We can’t control this. Also, in some circumstances, remaining anonymous may limit the scope of our action.

How we respond to bullying

Our primary purpose is to assess and regulate workplace compliance with WHS laws. We will not support one person's version of events over another or examine a potential breach of a code of conduct, unless this occurs while we are making our enquiries.

We take all unreasonable behaviour and treatment seriously, including of our own staff.

We do not view abuse, threats, intimidation or harassment of our staff by customers as part of their job. If your behaviour is unacceptable, we may set limits or conditions on your contact with us and provide you with a warning. If your behaviour continues, we may cease all direct contact with you.

We may not be able to continue to respond to issues that have already been actioned by us. We may stop responding to you if we have already investigated and responded to your issues.

We will close your matter if you:

  • have been provided with an opportunity to express your concerns
  • have been treated fairly
  • have been given reasons for our decisions
  • have been given a reasonable explanation as to why your request can go no further.

Any further correspondence from you about matters already dealt with will be noted, but no further action will be taken.

More information

Complaints handling policy

Dealing with workplace bullying – a worker’s guide

Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying

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