Workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that can cause physical or mental harm.
Bullying can be physical, verbal, psychological or social. This may include victimising, humiliating, intimidating, or threatening a person.
Bullying can happen not just between managers and staff, but also among co-workers, contractors, customers, clients or visitors.
Bullying can impact the victim’s confidence at work. In racing, confidence is a key factor in safety and productivity and must not be diminished.
Employers have legal obligations to make sure that their workers are healthy and safe at work. This includes managing the risks of bullying at work. If bullying causes physical harm, this can be a criminal offence, which should be reported to the Police.
If a person feels they are being bullied at work:
- An ideal first step is to talk to a trusted friend or colleague to ‘sense check’ what they are experiencing is indeed bullying at work. Examples of bullying behaviour can also be found at the WorkSafe website.
- If they are comfortable doing so, talk to any trained people, such as a workplace health and safety representative, if such a person exists.
- Keep a written record of the incidents that have made them feel bullied.
- Attempt to resolve the issue informally - by speaking privately or writing to the person(s) involved, or asking an appropriate manager to step in.
- Get advice from our dedicated racing helpline.
- Report the matter to the Racing Integrity Board or the relevant racing Code (Thoroughbred, Harness or Greyhound)
- Make an informal report using the “Bullying: Informal Complaint” form on the Worksafe website.
- Finally, you may make a formal complaint: Bullying: Formal complaint form/ Worksafe. It is important to put in writing what happened so there are no misunderstandings - and be as clear as possible about what happened, including dates and what was said, seen or done.
Employers are responsible for:
- Providing clear guidelines for their workers about what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour, as well as processes of how you will deal with these behaviours.
- Monitoring their workplace culture by reviewing any formal or informal complaints, conducting ‘exit interviews’ for workers that are leaving, or getting feedback from worker surveys.
- Treating any complaint seriously and investigate it properly - in a way that is impartial and fair to everyone involved. All people should be informed of the process and kept up to date. Serious cases of bullying could be criminal offences and may be referred to the Police, and to the Racing Integrity Board or the relevant racing Code (Thoroughbred, Harness or Greyhound).
- Keeping any investigation as confidential as possible - and supporting any workers involved, whether they are experiencing, or accused of, bullying.
WorkSafe has tools to assist employers to assess the risks of bullying at work and develop a policy to suit their culture.
Employment NZ - Bullying at Work