Harassment and sexual harassment
If you feel you have been harassed, sexually harassed or discriminated against based on sex, disability, race or age you can contact either the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights (1300 292 153) or the Australian Human Rights (1300 656 419). Complaints must be made in writing or by email by downloading a complaints form or completing the online complaint form.
You could also talk to someone and seek advice. This could come from your manager, human resources contact, employee assistance program, Health and Safety Representative, Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, union or professional association representative.
What should I do if I suspect my behaviour towards another worker may have been bullying or harassment?
Bullying and harassment can cause serious physical and mental health issues including high blood pressure, skin and gastrointestinal problems, headaches, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
If you think you may have bullied or harassed a person in your workplace, the first step is to listen to any feedback, reflect on your behaviour and take responsibility for your actions.
Apologising to the person, accepting any consequences and making immediate changes to how you treat colleagues in the workplace are just some of the immediate steps you can take to prevent another incident from occurring.
This might involve your manager or human resources department depending on how far the matter has escalated.
It might also be worth talking to a professional counsellor to help you understand your behaviour and give you some strategies on how to deal with conflict, other people’s behaviour, feelings and differences in a less harmful way.
If you are at a health service involved in the independent facilitator trial, you can contact them by visiting the Better Safer Care independent facilitator .
What will happen when I report bullying or harassment to my employer?
If you report bullying or harassment, you should expect:
- your employer to take your complaint seriously and to treat you with respect and listen;
- access to clear policies and procedures the organisation’s complaints management procedure including investigation and response to any allegations of bullying or harassment (usually on the organisation’s internal website);
- support from your manager, who should know their role and responsibilities when staff report bullying allegations to them; and
- your allegation to be treated with confidentiality.
If a matter ends up being formally investigated, it should be examined impartially, involve identifying and speaking to relevant parties, assessing reports on their merits and facts and allow for sufficient time.
At the end of an investigation, the person making the complaint should be advised of what action (if any) their employer proposes to take. If a person is aware that a complaint has been made against them, that person should also be advised of the proposed action and be given an opportunity to respond to it.