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Curtin University
People and Culture

Workplace Respect

Curtin has zero tolerance for workplace bullying.

All staff have the right to be treated, and are expected to treat others, with integrity and respect and to work in an environment free from bullying, and other inappropriate behaviour.

Building on a foundation of integrity and respect, and through courage, we will achieve excellence and have an impact on our workplace.

What is workplace bullying?

Bullying at work occurs when a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards an employee or a group of employees at work and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. (Fair Work Act 2009)

Inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, is an act that a reasonable person would regard as undermining the individual's right to dignity through victimising, harming, humiliating, intimidating or threatening a person or group of people.

What is not workplace bullying?

Bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner. (Fair Work Act 2009)

An employer may exercise their legal right to direct and control the way work is carried out. It is reasonable for managers to:

  • allocate work, taking the particular circumstances of the individual into consideration, and
  • give constructive feedback on an employee's performance or behaviour when done so in a fair, reasonable and transparent manner.

Acceptable workplace interactions may include academic debate, difference of opinion between individuals and interpersonal conflicts.

What is the impact of workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying can be harmful to the person experiencing it as well as those who witness it. Be mindful that your work colleagues may be uncomfortable with you discussing an instance of workplace bullying with them. It is better, if you feel safe to do so, to address the behaviour directly with the perpetrator.

The impact of workplace bullying on an individual may include:

  • stress, anxiety or panic attacks
  • sleep disturbance
  • physical injury, muscular tension, headaches and nausea
  • deteriorating relationships and reduced quality of home/family life
  • fear they may be next
  • thoughts of leaving the workplace
  • increased risk of depression or suicide

The University may be impacted through:

  • reduced efficiency, productivity and commitment
  • unsafe work environment
  • increased absenteeism
  • loss of corporate knowledge when people leave the workplace
  • increased risk of workers' compensation or civil action

What can you do?

Curtin encourages all employees to try to address workplace bullying to avoid escalation of bullying behaviours, where they feel safe to do so.

If you have concerns about workplace bullying or inappropriate behaviour and require guidance or support on how best to address this, it is important to speak to:

  • your Line Manager

or one of the following:

Employees are also encouraged to report workplace bullying and other inappropriate behaviour either through the complaints portal or as a safety and health incident report.

All employees

What you can do...

  • treat others in the workplace with courtesy and respect
  • address the bullying or inappropriate behaviour directly, calmly and clearly with the perpetrator, if you feel safe to do so
  • keep a record of any conversation or keep evidence
  • raise issues with your line manager or one of the contacts listed above

Every employee has a duty of care for the safety and health of others by not engaging in bullying or other inappropriate behaviours.

Line managers

What you can do...

  • provide a safe workplace
  • promote and model workplace respect across the University
  • resolve workplace concerns as early as possible and at the local level
  • focus on the behaviour rather than the person
  • keep a record or collect evidence
  • raise issues of staff health and wellbeing [see contacts above]
  • be mindful of how you are perceived by others
  • know the best ways to communicate difficult or sensitive matters
  • empower your employees to proactively manage their relationships in the workplace

The University is committed to

  • taking a zero tolerance approach to workplace bullying
  • promoting and modelling workplace respect across the University
  • providing a safe and healthy work environment
  • supporting and promoting health and wellbeing
  • providing appropriate information, training and instruction