Bullying is now a criminal offence in Victoria.
“This amendment to the Crimes Act, makes it clear that threats and abusive words or acts which amount to bullying constitute the offence of stalking.
This legislative change acknowledges the serious consequences for anyone who engages in this type of behaviour.
The OHS Act imposes duties on employers and employees with respect to treatment of anyone in the workplace. Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark acknowledged that despite the OHS Act having an important role in addressing significant workplace issues, the Café Vamp case demonstrated the need for the worst cases of bullying to be regarded as criminal offences carrying significant punishments.
These cases will generally be investigated by WorkSafe Victoria and in more serious instances be referred to Victoria Police.
The purpose of this legislative change is to address the issue of serious bullying and deter people from engaging in such conduct. Employers must take responsibility to ensure that employees can work in a safe environment that is free from risk, including incidents of bullying. Employers are encouraged to update their bullying policies and educate employees in relation to this legislative change.