Dealing with issues in the workplace

Hopefully, your workplace is a safe and healthy environment. However, even great workplaces will have issues at times.

You may be uncomfortable or find it difficult to talk to your supervisor about issues but it’s important that you deal with them straight away or they will get worse. There are laws to ensure no bullying, harassment or discrimination of anyone in the workplace. Select the items below for an explanation.

Bullying

Workplace bullying is repeated or persistent and unreasonable behaviour or behaviours that causes risk to health and safety of a worker or group of workers. For example, repeated practical jokes, being criticised or insulted and being threatened with losing your job. You need to report the bullying but also get support from your colleagues, WIL advisor which may be your teacher, a WIL staff member or your university counsellor. You can also report the bullying to the Fair Work Commission.

Discrimination

Discrimination against someone for reasons including their age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, race, sex, gender or carer’s responsibility is unlawful.

  • Harassment under anti-discrimination law is defined as a form of behaviour that you don’t want which offends, humiliates or intimidates you and creates a hostile environment.
  • Discrimination, unlike bullying, may occur only once for you to report it to the Fair Work Ombudsman, Australian Human Rights Commission or your state or territory anti-discrimination body, if you can’t resolve the issue at work.

It’s important to understand your rights. You have the right to:

  • Stop or refuse to work if you feel unsafe to do the task
  • Raise health and safety issues without negative consequences
  • Elect a health and safety representative if needed

Each state or territory has its own regulator, which you can find at the Safe Work Australia website.

Understanding Australian Workplace Cultures: Legislative and regulatory frameworks

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