Accused of bullying

Accused of Bullying

If you are accused of bullying

For a person accused of bullying it can be a stressful time.  It is important to understand that workplace bullying is repeated behaviour that can be direct such as verbal abuse or threats of physical violence or indirect such as inappropriate comments, constant criticism that is not accurate, isolation or exclusion, or embarrassing unrealistic or degrading demands.

Where bullying involves assault or threats of assault, it may become a police matter.

When thinking about bullying it is important to differentiate between a person’s reasonable authority, as opposed to bullying and harassment.  Feedback or counselling provided appropriately and constructively by a line manager is not considered bullying. However, feedback or counselling delivered in an inappropriate manner is not appropriate.  Feedback and counselling is intended to improve performance and work standards.

Is it possible that you behaviour could be considered as bullying?


  • If another person was to witness the behaviour, would they consider it offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening?
  • Is it possible that the tone or volume of my voice or my body language be perceived as offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening?
  • Could my communication or management style ever be perceived as offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening by someone else?
  • When I feel angry, stressed or anxious could my feelings be exhibited in a way that others may find offensive, humiliating, intimidating or threatening?
  • Could the way I provide feedback on people’s work, or monitor their performance ever be perceived as overly critical or excessive by someone else?
  • Could targets or deadlines I have set be perceived as unreasonable?
  • Have I excluded a particular worker from essential information or meetings?
  • Is it possible that my behaviour towards the complainant has been repeated?
  • Do I have any records of previous interactions I have had with the complainant?
  • Was the behaviour that has been perceived as bullying part of the normal disciplinary or performance feedback procedure?
  • Have I ever been accused of bullying in the past?
  • Can I resolve the situation by speaking to the person directly?
Sourced from Curtin University