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‘Lead by example’: public service heads urged to address bullying

Tasmania’s public sector union has implored senior figures in the state service to “lead by example” and work to stamp out bullying in their workforce.

It comes after the state service’s 2019-20 annual report detailed the results of a survey of all employees, conducted from March 10-31, which showed that 21 per cent of employees reported experiencing bullying in the workplace in the past 12 months, while two per cent said they had experienced sexual harassment.

This was despite the fact that 67 per cent indicated overall job satisfaction.

“Heads of agency need to show leadership to address these high levels of bullying,” Community and Public Sector state secretary Tom Lynch said. “They need to lead by example.”

“People who bully their colleagues need to know that their actions are unacceptable and that their head of agency will take action against such behaviour and likewise, employees who report bullying need to be confident their head of agency will protect them.”

According to the survey, just 39 per cent of employees who experienced bullying reported it and 58 per cent of those who didn’t report it felt there was no point because they didn’t think any action would be taken. Moreover, 38 per cent said they didn’t do so due to feeling it could affect their career.

State service boss Jenny Gale said both the government and the state service were committed to “a safe and inclusive workplace where negative workplace behaviour is not accepted”.

“To complement the governments broader approach to address bullying in Tasmania, the State Service Management Office will coordinate a whole-of-service response,” she said.

“Each agency has processes to support employees who may experience negative workplace behaviour.”

The Examiner, Rob Inglis, 16 October

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