P3; Bullying


This Bullying Policy aims to ensure a safe and respectful work environment for all employees by addressing and preventing workplace bullying. This policy is in compliant with and aims to achieve the objectives of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) in relation to Bullying in the workplace. 


Workplace bullying can have severe physical and psychological impacts on employees, affecting their health and wellbeing. To comply with OH&S legislation and promote a healthy workplace, the VFF is committed to preventing and addressing bullying at all levels of the organisation. The VFF seeks to provide all employees with a healthy and safe work environment free from workplace bullying and harassment. The VFF believes that all employees are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect by managers, staff, members, and contractors. Accordingly, the VFF is committed to its policy and directs that it be used in dealing with the problem of bullying in the workplace. 



3.1.1 The VFF will not tolerate bullying under any circumstances and will: 

– Promote appropriate standards of behaviour at all times; 

– Treat complaints of bullying in a sensitive, fair, timely and confidential manner; 

– Implement training and awareness-raising strategies to ensure all employees know their rights and responsibilities; 

– Provide an effective procedure for complaints of bullying to be addressed; 

– Encourage the reporting of behaviour which breaches the bullying policy; and 

– Ensure protection from victimisation or reprisals for persons reporting bullying. 3.2 DEFINITIONS 

3.1.1 Workplace bullying is defined as repeated, unreasonable behaviour directed toward an employee, or group of employees, that creates a risk to health and safety. 

3.1.2 The following types of behaviour where directed towards an individual and repeated, or occurring as part of a pattern of behaviour, could be considered to be bullying: 

– The repeated less favourable treatment of a person by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice; 

– Repeated, or untoward treatment of an employee by another or others in the workplace, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice; 

– Behaviour that is offensive, intimidating, humiliating, or that degrades, ridicules or insults the person at work; 

– Demeaning language or verbal abuse; 

– Threats, physical or verbal intimidation; 

– Outbursts of anger or aggression; 

– Excluding or isolating employees; 

– “Ganging up” on an employee; 

– Psychological harassment or intimidation; 

– Giving employees impossible assignments; 

– Deliberately changing work rosters to inconvenience particular employees; or 

– Deliberately withholding information that is vital for effective work performance. 

The above list is not exhaustive. Other types of behaviour may also constitute bullying. 

3.1.3 Reasonable management actions carried out in a fair and reasonable manner are not bullying. For example, actions could include: 

– Setting performance goals, standards and deadlines; 

– Allocating work to an employee; 

– Rostering and allocating work hours; 

– Deciding not to select an employee for promotion; 

– Informing an employee about unsatisfactory work performance; 

– informing an employee about inappropriate behaviour; 

– Implementing organisational changes; 

– Performance management processes; 

– Constructive feedback; 

– Downsizing; or 

– Requesting information from a worker regarding incidents, injury or return to work plans and programs. 

3.1.4 VFF Employees include Directors of the Board, staff and contractors for which the VFF has a duty of care under OH&S legislation. 

3.1.5 VFF members are not employees under OH&S legislation. 

3.1.6 All employees have a legal responsibility to care for their own health and safety and that of co-workers, and therefore must not engage in acts which constitute bullying behaviour. In addition, employees are required to follow instructions given by their supervisor/manager relating to the prevention of workplace injuries and illnesses. This applies to measures to prevent workplace bullying which includes monitoring the work environment to ensure acceptable standards of conduct are observed at all times. Therefore, all staff are responsible for promoting this policy by ensuring: 

– You treat other staff with respect and courtesy; 

– Comply with the Workplace Bullying Policy & Procedure; 

– Incidences of bullying are reported to the appropriate manager or supervisor and 

– You fully participate in any investigation into an incident of bullying, and maintain confidentiality. 

3.1.7 All members must comply with this policy in their dealings with VFF employees, stakeholders and each other through their obligations in the Member Code of Conduct and Membership Terms and Conditions that require compliance with all VFF policies as a condition of membership. 


3.2.1 The VFF at all times takes all possible measures for compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic), including: 

– To secure the health, safety and welfare of employees and other persons at work; 

– Eliminate, at the source, risks to the health, safety or welfare of employees and other persons at work; and 

– Ensure that the health and safety of members of the public is not placed at risk by the conduct of undertakings by employees and any VFF contractor. 

3.2.2 Anyone involved in a complaint of bullying, or its investigation, must ensure that the circumstances and facts of the complaint are disclosed only to those people who are directly involved in progressing its investigation and resolution, or have a ‘need to know’. In particular, it is important that staff who either make a complaint, or may be witnesses to the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, do not discuss the matter outside the investigation and resolution processes. 


3.3.1 The VFF treats any allegations of bullying seriously. Employees who experience or witness bullying should report the incident as soon as possible to the CEO. Anonymous reporting options are available to ensure confidentiality. Advice is available from the VFF People and Culture representative. 

3.3.2 Members that experience or witness bullying should report the incident as soon as possible to the VFF Manager, Membership and Sponsorship or the CEO. Anonymous reporting options are available to ensure confidentiality. 

3.3.3 Any person or Employee who reports a bullying incident will not be victimised for doing so. The VFF strictly prohibits retaliation against employees or members who report bullying in good faith or participate in an investigation. Any form of retaliation will be treated as a serious offense. 

3.3.4 Formal complaints involving bullying involving employees or members are investigated in accordance with Policy P2 Grievances. Formal complaints must be documented using the form P1: Grievances. The objective of an investigation is to assess the veracity of the bullying claim, protect the involved parties, and take appropriate action to prevent further incidents. 

3.3.5 If the investigation concludes that bullying has occurred, appropriate actions will be taken, which may include but are not limited to counselling and support for the victim; training and education for the perpetrator, disciplinary action including employment termination, and implementation of preventative measures and review of policy; 

3.3.6 Disciplinary measures will be taken against staff for false or malicious complaints of bullying and harassment. 





Policy P1: Employment 

Policy P2: Grievances 

Policy M2: Membership Terms and Conditions 

Policy M3: Member Code of Conduct 

Policy M4: Member Sanctions