BullyingWork Environment

When you are bullied at work, some people find it hard to accept it is happening.

Many employees suffer for a long time in silence.

Bullying is NEVER,EVER acceptable in any circumstances.


Worksafe NZ/Hau Maumaru Aotearoa defines bullying as “repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.” 

According to Worksafe NZ/Hau Maumaru Aotearoa, cites two categories of bullying;


  1. Direct and Personal Attacks
  2. Indirect and Task-related Attacks.


Examples of Direct and Personal Attacks


  • Attacking a person’s beliefs, attitude, lifestyle or appearance – gender references – accusations of being mentally disturbed 
  • Being shouted at or yelled at 
  • Belittling remarks – undermining integrity – lies being told – your sense of judgment questioned – opinions marginalised
  • Excluding – isolating – ignoring views
  • Ganging up – colleagues/clients encouraged to criticise or spy – witch hunt – dirty tricks campaign – singled out 
  • Humiliation (in public or private) 
  • Inaccurate accusations 
  • Ignoring – excluding – silent treatment – isolating 
  • Insulting comments about private life 
  • Intimidation – acting in a condescending manner
  • Lack of role clarity  
  • Persistent and/or public criticism 
  • Picking on someone 
  • Ridiculing – insulting – teasing – jokes – ‘funny surprises’ – sarcasm 
  • Scapegoating 
  • Tampering with personal effects – theft – the destruction of property 
  • Threats of violence 
  • Verbal abuse 
Indirect and Task-related Attacks
  • Changing goalposts or targets
  • Concealing information – information goes missing
  • Constant criticism of work 
  • Copying emails about someone to others who don’t need to know
  • Denial of opportunity
  • Failing to return calls or pass on messages
  • Forced or unjustified disciplinary hearings 
  • Giving unachievable tasks – impossible deadlines – unmanageable workloads – overloading – ‘setting up to fail.’
  • Intruding on privacy (e.g. spying, stalking, harassed by calls when on leave or at weekends)
  • Making threats about job security
  • Not giving enough training 
  • No support from the manager
  • Offensive sanctions (e.g. denying leave where there is no reason to do so) 
  • Overloading someone with work 
  • Providing meaningless tasks
  • Reducing opportunities for expression – interrupting when speaking 
  • Setting up an employee to fail, for example, offering training and then starting the employee in the role without any training. 
  • Sabotage
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Supplying incorrect or unclear information 
  • Undervaluing contribution – no credit where it’s due – taking credit for work that’s not their own 
  • Underwork – removing responsibility – demotion 
  • Unreasonable monitoring 
  • Using humiliating language


Repeated bullying behaviour is unacceptable on moral grounds, and it negatively impacts the people who witness it. If you suffer from one of these behaviours, you are being bullied. 


Repeated bullying often leads to mental anguish affecting employee’s sleep, and their ability to function at work.


Please don’t suffer in silence; you have several options available to you. Call us, and we can help advise what the most appropriate option is for you. 

Resolve Legal blogs contain only general information about legal matters. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be treated as, or relied on, as such. Don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer appropriate to your legal issue for legal advice specific to your facts.

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