If you feel you are being bullied, find out what you can do.
Examples of bullying
Some examples of bullying include:
- someone persistently attempts to belittle or undermine your work
- persistently and unjustifiably criticising or monitoring your work
- persistently attempting to humiliate you in front of colleagues
- using destructive innuendo and sarcasm against you
- physically or verbally threatening to harm you
- freezing, ignoring or excluding you
- setting impossible deadlines
- altering work goals without prior consent or knowledge.
These examples are from the State Services Authority, now the Victorian Public Sector Commission, Victoria, 2010.
What can you do
Strategies to deal with bullying and harassment include:
- Understand that a bully tries to provoke a response that can be used against you. Stand your ground but always act reasonably and politely, even in the face of rudeness.
- Avoid having one-to-one meetings with the alleged bully if you have lodged a complaint about the bullying. Ensure that you have a trusted support person with you as a witness in any meeting with the alleged bully.
- Keep an accurate and confidential record of the bullying incidents, including times, dates and places; what you and others said and did; and names of any witnesses. Also, keep emails and documents that are evidence of bullying.
- Be aware of and monitor your stress levels. Put your health before any other consideration.
- Follow the steps outlined in Charles Sturt University's Harassment and Bullying Prevention Guidelines and the Complaints Procedure - Workplace or Complaints Procedure - Students to resolve the situation.
- If it is safe, let the alleged bully know that their behaviour is unwelcome and ask them to stop.
- Talk to people you trust, such as a friend, support person, counsellor through the Employee Assistance Program (staff) or Student Counsellor (students).
- Tell your line manager or another appropriate manager, such as a more senior manager or Human Resources Manager (staff and students) or the relevant Course Director, Head of School or Faculty Executive Officer (students) about your concerns.
- Make a written complaint to the University Ombudsman.
- If the behaviour is discrimination, seek advice internally from the Manager, Diversity and Equity (staff) or Student Liaison Officer (Equity)(students) or externally from the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or Australian Human Rights Commission.
- If someone has been assaulted or injured, contact the Police.
If you are being bullied by a student
- Ensure behavioural and communication expectations are clearly explained for students in course materials, outlines and introductory information. For example, set clear guidelines at the start of the semester about how you will communicate.
- Make a written complaint to the Head of Campus.
- Students can be suspended from classes or banned from the campus for up to 2 weeks.
- If misconduct is proven, students can be suspended from the University for up to 12 months.
- If issues arise in relation to student behaviour and/or communication, inform the student of the expected behaviour/communication and the consequences of inappropriate behaviour/communication, as contained in the Student Charter, Academic Communication with Students Policy, Communicating without Bias Guidelines and/or Social Media Guidelines (Division of Information Technology).
- If the issues persist, collaborate with the Head of School and student to develop a communication management plan in support of the staff member and student, in accordance with the Academic Communication with Students Policy or, if applicable, follow the Process for Handling Complaints of Offensive Comments in Online Evaluations.
- If the issues still persist, action can be taken under the Student General Misconduct Rule.