Being Bullied? Record It In A Diary
Horrific recent reports from the Coroner’s Court looking into the suicide of a young man after he was bullied at work show that despite all the laws and guidelines, more must be done.
One thing the victim themselves can do is to keep a detailed diary of the bullying incidents. This could be used as evidence against the bully and bosses who do nothing to stop it.
Safe Work Australia says recording each incident of bullying in a diary would be an enormous help when the victim chooses to complain or seek redress.
“Bullying can sometimes be difficult to prove if it is subtle or covert,” Safe Work Australia says in its new guide for beating bullying.
“In these circumstances, it may be helpful to keep a diary detailing each bullying incident. Make detailed notes of what is happening. This information may be useful later, particularly if the matter is unresolved or escalates.”
Safe Work Australia said workers who are feeling bullied should first tell the person that their behavior is unwanted and unacceptable, and ask them to stop.
The concept of what constitutes bullying has now been expanded to include comments, even outside work, on social media and internet chat rooms by co-workers and employers.
The definition of bullying is “repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker that creates a risk to health and safety”. It includes victimising, humiliating, intimidating or threatening behavior.
Bosses can be regarded as bullies if they subject workers to “excessive scrutiny” or assign employees to tasks they are not trained for without offering help. Setting unreasonable goals or constantly changing deadlines can be classified as bullying. Spreading malicious rumours about someone is bullying too.
But setting “reasonable” performance goals, teasing, practical jokes and displaying offensive material have been removed from Safe Work’s definition of bullying.
Kym Luke, an employment law specialist at Stacks Law Firm, said the bullying victim should note down in a diary where and when bullying incidents happen, detail what is said or done to them, and anything they did or said to complain or try to stop the bullying.
“Write down who else was present at the incident and what they must have seen along with what they said or did. They might be able to be called later as witnesses,” she said.
“It would be useful if victims can get any witnesses to write down their own account of what happened.
“I know this wouldn’t be easy, but such written evidence could be crucial in a workers compensation claim or potential legal action.”