Workplace safety threatened by bullying

Friday, 20 March, 2009

The Victorian Trades Hall Council is warning of an increase in workplace bullying as the current economic situation puts pressure on workers to work longer and harder to safeguard their jobs.

“Research here and internationally has shown for years that whenever there is employment uncertainty or significant work reorganisation, bullying increases,” said Brian Boyd, Trades Hall’s Secretary. “So WorkSafe should be expecting an increase in claims regarding bullying and should allocate resources appropriately. Every worker has a right to a safe and healthy work environment and bullying is against the law. No worker should be targeted in the workplace for raising health and safety concerns.”

Boyd branded the recently reported comments from a law firm that employees are attempting to avoid redundancies by lodging bullying claims, as “scurrilous, mean and ignorant”, adding: “Not only should we expect an increase in claims but also take extra steps to ensure that the ‘cheap and lazy’ tactic of ‘blaming the victim’ is avoided. All workers continue to have the right to a safe and healthy work environment irrespective of the economic climate.”

Boyd also called on workers to contact their workplace OHS Rep, union or WorkSafe if there were concerns about bullying in their workplace.

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