Bullying – 10 signs you might be missing

Did you know that recent research is indicating that half of Australians will experience workplace bullying at some point in their careers. That’s really concerning especially because under health and safety laws and the Fair Work Act, we employers have a duty of care to identify and tackle bullying associated with our workplace. 

HR Tactics HR Consultant Brisbane - Bullying – 10 Signs you Might be Missing

Bullying claims can now run into millions of dollars and even result in prison sentences in some instances, so it’s just not an issue we employers can afford to ignore.  

Hi I’m Jackie Strachan, the CEO of HR Tactics, a HR Consulting firm based in Brisbane and servicing businesses Australia wide. Today I want to bring to your attention 10 signs of bullying that aren’t always easy to identify.

Certain types of bullying are sometimes easy to spot, such as openly aggressive or overbearing behaviour, belittling, mocking and malicious gossip. But bullying can also be subtle and may go unnoticed. It might take place between peers, managers and even senior staff and, if a distinct pattern of behaviour is repeated, it could represent a classic bullying situation. 

10 signs of bullying that aren’t always easy to identify: 

  1. Lack of communication – Information may be intentionally withheld from individuals. 
  2. Not giving credit – Contributions and ideas may be deliberately unacknowledged or stolen. 
  3. Disregard – Legitimate concerns or feelings may be purposely discounted or ignored. 
  4. Creating a low sense of self-worth – Continual allocation of menial tasks, unevenly delegating duties between staff and neglecting to provide feedback may all be intended to destroy one’s self-esteem.
  5. Inconsistency – Expectations and guidelines may be continually shifted to create unease.
  6. Intimidation – Intimidation isn’t always overt, scare tactics and threats can be tacit.
  7. Division – Conflicts and stigmatisation may be encouraged to pit staff against each other.
  8. Deception – Lies or deception may be used to create a false sense of hope to get in one’s way. 
  9. Blame-shifting – Scapegoating may be used to avoid responsibility and downgrade other staff. 
  10. Unfair criticism – Individuals may be excessively criticised to make them feel ashamed or inadequate.

The Costs of Bullying 

Even if a bullying case doesn’t result in litigation, there are numerous other business costs that are known to be linked to workplace bullying, including:

  • decreased productivity;
  • increased absenteeism;
  • loss of valuable staff;
  • high employee turnover; 
  • toxic business culture; and 
  • damage to business’s reputation.

Contact us if you’d like to discuss any of the information above or if you would like to discuss any other HR issue you’re facing in your business at the moment.

HR Tactics – HR Consultants Brisbane – Outsourced HR

This information was provided with the intention of helping you find more clarity, confidence and peace of mind as you navigate your own journey as an employer. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, and if you think someone else would enjoy it please feel free to share it on.


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About The Author
Jackie Strachan

Jackie Strachan

Jackie’s passion for creating better Human Resources outcomes stems from over 20 years’ experience in the field and a drive for finding innovative solutions.
Her HR career has seen her hold both operational and strategic HR management roles across a vast array of industry sectors including retail, financial services, child protection, professional services, dental, state emergency services, Department of Justice, agency recruitment and IT.
Combining her experience in each specialised area of Human Resources (such as learning & development, recruitment, WHS and employee relations etc), Jackie leads HR Tactics with an industry-respected foundation of knowledge.