The race without a finishing line: Legislative means for confronting bullying in the Australian workplace

Glennis M. Hanley, Anne O'Rourke

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13 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we investigate the evolution of occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation aimed at harnessing workplace bullying. We begin with a brief discussion of workplace safety and literature covering workplace bullying. Then we present an overview of the development of Australian OHS legislation in recognising the influence of psychosocial hazards such as bullying. Following this we examine the Fair Work Commission's anti-bullying jurisdiction which commenced on 1 January 2014. We argue that while the new anti-bullying laws are a welcome response to the problem of workplace bullying, they offer a minimalist rather than a comprehensive remedy to the problem. We conclude that the only way to provide an adequate response is to create stand-alone legislation that recognises bullying as a criminal offence with remedies sufficiently castigatory to act as a deterrent to would-be workplace bullies and prompt proactive workplace cultural change.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-368
Number of pages17
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Human Resources
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016


  • Australia
  • employee relations
  • health and safety
  • law
  • legal issues and employment

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