Frequently Asked Questions

Question

What constitutes harassment at work?

Answer

Bullying and harassment of any kind should not be tolerated in the workplace. In general terms it can be quantified as unreasonable treatment related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or derogatory comment about an individual’s characteristics, male or female. Cases can be brought against colleagues who cross the line, whether it is persistent abuse or an isolated incident.

Harassment at work is defined if comments or actions are demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient. Bullying, for instance, is characterised as offensive, intimidating, humiliating, abuse or misuse of power or malicious and insulting behaviour that denigrates or causes physical or emotional injury. This is the case whether the harassment is aimed at an individual or an entire group of people. A complete list of examples includes:

spreading malicious rumours or causing insult orally or physically

sending critical appraisals about someone to others who have no right to know

  • ridiculing or demeaning someone, either by picking on them or setting them up to fail
  • exclusion or victimisation
  • unfair treatment
  • overbearing supervision or other misuse of power
  • unwelcome sexual advances – whether touching, making crude comments or gestures or showing them content of a sexual nature
  • threatening someone over their job security without foundation
  • deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading them with work and constantly criticising them either privately or in public
  • preventing individuals from progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities