Repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health & safety.

Includes – verbal abuse; put downs; spreading rumours & innuendo; unjustified criticism & complaints; exclusion; deliberately changing work arrangements to inconvenience a worker or group of workers; excessive scrutiny.

Workplace harassment

Verbal abuse; threats of dismissal or punishment for no reason; ridicule and put downs; offensive emails or voicemail; humiliation through gestures, sarcasm, insults etc; spreading gossip or false rumours.

Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome sexual conduct that makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated where this response  is reasonable in the circumstances.

Includes – unwelcome touching, hugging or kissing; staring or leering; suggestive comments or jokes; sexually explicit pictures screen savers & posters; unwanted invitations for dates or sex; inquisitive questions about personal or sex life; deliberately  brushing up against someone; insults or taunts of a sexual nature; sexually explicit emails or SMS messages; accessing sexually explicit internet sites; indecent exposure; sexual assault; stalking.


Unlawful discrimination  - when someone, or a group of people, is treated less favourably than another person or group because of their race, colour, national or ethnic origin; sex, pregnancy or marital status; age; disability; religion; sexual preference; trade union activity; or some other characteristic specified under anti-discrimination or human rights legislation.

Sex Discrimination

Treating someone unfairly because of their sex, marital status, pregnancy or potential pregnancy.

Bullying, harassment or discrimination is NOT

Legitimate comment and advice (including relevant negative comment or feedback) from managers and supervisors on the work performance or work related behaviour of an individual or group.


You Can Act to STOP It

Bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace are against the law and can be damaging to a person’s physical and mental health and general well being.

Everyone has a responsibility to act to stop it

If you believe you may have been subjected to bullying, harassment or discrimination take the following steps

  • Review the definitions – does what has happened to you fit in to one of the definitions?
  • Write down and keep a record of exactly what happened and when it happened.
  • Talk to your Civil Air delegate about what has happened or ring the Civil Air Federal Office for advice/assistance.
  • Report your concern to your ALM or if this is not appropriate report it to another senior manager or the Equity & Diversity Manager (People & Change).
  • Take your Civil Air delegate or someone else you trust with you when you report your concern.
  • If you have not heard anything from ASA about your concerns within a reasonable timeframe advise your Civil Air delegate and the Civil Air industrial team about the matter.
  • If you are feeling unwell, stressed or upset as a result of what has happened take advice from your own medical practitioner about what you should do.

If you see or hear something that may be bullying, harassment or discrimination in the workplace then ACT to help out

  • Advise the person affected of the steps they can take as set out above.
  • Support them in this process.
  • Above all else, let them know they are not alone and that you are prepared to help.

If you believe the problem is systemic or cultural in your work area (i.e. that there is a general practice of bullying or intimidation or that a number of people are involved in perpetrating the inappropriate behaviour) it can be difficult to tackle this with individual complaints.  Where this is the case we suggest that these matters are dealt with collectively and Civil Air can assist with this.

If you have any questions or concerns REMEMBER

  • Talk to your Civil Air delegate
  • Contact the Civil Air Industrial Team


Civil Air:  03 9647 9100             Freecall:  1800 359 007


pdf Climate of Fear Sept 4 2010   Article from Good Weekend Magazine