Making bullies aware of behaviour

RUTH LEVY has handled bullying complaints in the workplace as a human resources manager and mediator for the last nine years.

She has found that striking a balance of supporting the complainant to feel safe enough to raise the issue and educating the bully about their behaviour is the best way to tackle the problem.

“Handling a conflict in the workplace needs to be done sensitively,” she said.

“It's hard for someone who is feeling bullied to raise the issue in the first place as these people often feel shamed and unsafe. It takes a lot of courage for them to speak up.

“Confronting bullies does not immediately transform their behaviour. It's a slow evolving of awareness that their behaviour is unacceptable.”

Ms Levy said when bullying is raised the bully is sometimes shocked their behaviour is being described as bullying.

“Changing behaviour is about awareness, and learning to treat people differently is a gradual process of awareness,” she said.

Ms Levy is the convener of a Workplace Bullying Forum at Southern Cross University on August 5.

The Northern Star, in conjunction with Southern Cross University, Lifeline and TAFE, are holding a public forum on workplace bullying.

Lawyer and mediator Ruth Levy will set the scene.

Panellists will include Margot Sweeny from Summerland Credit Union, Paul Irwin from WorkCover, Ken McIntosh from Health Services Union, psychologist Dr Brendan Lloyd, and Dr Jennifer Nielsen from SCU School of Law and Justice.

There will be question, discussion and workshop time.

Employers, small businesses, employees and related agencies are encouraged to attend.

When: Wednesday, August 5, from 6-8.30pm.

Where: Block Z, room Z181 Southern Cross University. Enter through Rifle Road. Parking available near herb garden.

For details on how to get there go to

For more information phone Sue Short on 6620 0530.

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