By DAVID KILLICK
Workplace bullying is completely unacceptable and victims should not be afraid to ask for help, Workplace Relations Minister David O’Byrne said yesterday.
He said the Government took the problem of bullying extremely seriously and urged workers and employers to tackle it together.
Mr O’Byrne’s comments came after a Federal Government inquiry in Hobart on Thursday heard bullying was a growing problem in Tasmanian workplaces.
“Workplace bullying can take many forms, but is never acceptable,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Every employer has a duty-of-care under Workplace Health and Safety laws including the need to prevent mental health risks like bullying.
“Awareness and reporting of workplace bullying has come a long way in recent decades. But it remains a serious issue, and one I personally take very seriously.
“I’d encourage any worker who is bullied in the workplace to raise it with a supervisor, their union, Workplace Standards Tasmania, or the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner.
“If the matter isn’t adequately addressed at work, the Government provides strong laws and funds a range of services to support them.”
Caroline Dean, from Challenge Bullying, said bullying remained under-reported and was often poorly handled.
“Our statistics show that only 73 per cent of people make an official complaint but management in 60 per cent of those cases failed to take any action,” she said.
“That just tells people their issues aren’t important and entrenches the behaviour.”
She said it was critical to break the culture of silence in workplaces, but the public debate was encouraging.