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  • Writer's pictureClara Wajngurt

Bullying and Harassment in the Australian Workplace

A November 2016 report written by Safe Work Australia wrote this report because workplace bullying and harassment can lead to psychological harm, and can negatively affect one's workplace environment. If one identifies the reasons why this exists, perhaps then we can effectively address these issues in the work environment and thereby prevent bullying and harassment on the job.

The main focus of the report is data from the 2014-2015 Australian Workplace Barometer project, and attempts were made to have a representative sample of the working population.

What were the results of this study:

Relatively high levels of workplace bullying were reported in the businesses of electricity, gas, water, health and community services as well as government administration and defense industries.
Of those who reported they were bullies, approximately 32.6% were bullied at least once a week.
The prevalence of workplace bullying in Australia has increased  from 7% in 2009-2011.
In addition Australia has the 6th highest rate of workplace bullying when compared to 34 European countries.
The most common forms of harassment reported were: 37.2%  sworn or yelled at; 23.2% were humiliated in front of others; 21.8% were physically assaulted or threatened by patients or clients.
Negative comments due to race or ethnicity were experienced by 7.4% of respondents.
Unfair treatment due to gender was experienced by 10.9% of respondents.Women were more likely than men to be bullied, and experienced unwanted sexual advances, unfair treatment because of their gender, as well as being physically assaulted or threatened by a client or patient.
As worker emotional demands increased on the job so did the prevalence of bullying.
Bullying and most forms of harassment were associated with adverse psychological health outcomes including depression and emotional exhaustion.

We need interventions to reduce bullying and harassment in the workplace. Increase monitoring and communication and provide education regarding appropriate behaviors in the workplace.

Please see publication for more information.

If you would like more information on workplace bullying or our services visit: or write to me at

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