Bullying & Harassment

Workplace bullying and harassment should never be tolerated. Behaviour may differ depending on the situation, but however it looks, it is never okay.

Being bullied or harassed in the workplace will often affect your health and performance. If you need support in the workplace because you are being bullied, please contact us immediately, we will arrange an employment law advocate to help you.

Bullying can be hard to prove. We encourage you to not resign before contacting us. If you think that your only option is to resign, then an employment advocate may be able to negotiate an exit package on your behalf. We will also help to ensure that employers take corrective measures to address the issue of bullying in their workplace.


Bullying in the workplace is a behaviour that may be considered humiliating, intimidating, threatening or demeaning to an individual or group of employees. 

Bullying can be done openly or subtly, inflicted by one person or by a group of people.  

Openly bullying someone may include, physical behaviours, verbal behaviours, and unjustified or unfair application of rules and policies to single out an employee. 

Subtle bullying can be harder to identify and may include, exclusion from a group, undermining or sabotage. 

Harassment may also be considered a form of bullying.

General Harassment

General harassment could include any unwanted or unjustified behaviour which another person finds offensive or humiliating and because it is serious or repeated it has a negative effect on the person’s employment, job performance or job satisfaction.

Specific protection from other forms of harassment at work isn’t included in legislation, but if an employee is subjected to another form of harassment, they may be able to bring a personal grievance, for example, if

  • Other forms of harassment are included in workplace policies or employment agreements, or

  • The harassment leads to an unjustified disadvantage or constructive dismissal.

Other forms of harassment may be considered bullying if they are repeated.

Examples of other forms of harassment:

  • Comments or behaviour that express hostility, contempt or ridicule, repeated put-downs for people of a particular age, body shape, gender identity etc

  • A general work atmosphere of repeated jokes, teasing, or “fun” at someone else’s expense because of a particular characteristic they have.

The Harassment Act 1997 outlines harassment as:

  • Watching, loitering near or preventing or hindering access to or from a person’s place of residence, business, employment or any other place that the person frequents for any purpose

  • Following, stopping or accosting that person

  • Entering or interfering with property in that person’s possession

  • Making contact with that person (whether by telephone, correspondence or in any other way)

  • Giving offensive material to that person or leaving it where it will be found by, given to or brought to the attention of that person

  • Acting in any other way that causes a person to fear for his or her safety and that would cause a reasonable person in those particular circumstances to fear for his or her safety