A case forwarded to Australia’s Fair Work Commission helped to provide some clarification on acts that may or may not constitute bullying following the anti-bullying regulations stated in the 2009 Fair Work Act Commission.
The case involved three parties working at a soap market stall in Fremantle Markets. The complainant alleged that the owner of the neighboring market stall often stared at her in a hostile way, as well as spreading rumors about her and even cursed at her in one instance. The complainant also claimed that an employee of a cleaning company working at the site once threatened her life for leaving soap crumbs on the floor.
The Fair Work Commission clarified that being threatened once and hostile looks do not constitute bullying. On the threat, the Commission found that since it was a one-off incident, it failed to meet the definition of being bullied at work since the cleaning company worker did not repeat the offensive behavior. However, the Commission observed that cursing at the complainant would fall under workplace bullying if repeated. It also stated that gossiping about others at work would also constitute bullying.
Workplace bullying can come in many forms. It does not always entail physical aggression or verbal outbursts, it can also happen through simple acts wherein sometimes the most unexpected behavior such as eye rolling may be considered as bullying.
To read more about the case, click here.