Problem People: How to Handle Bullying, Misogyny or Racism in the Workplace

Managing Complaints

The Don’ts

  • that’s just the way Mick is
  • He didn’t mean anything by it
  • I’m sure that wasn’t the way that he meant it
  • I’ll talk to him.
  • I don’t care
  • It’s not important
  • Mick’s behaviour is acceptable
  • I’m not going to do anything.

The Dos

  1. Develop a policy
  2. Provide training
  3. Follow your policy

The Law

Develop a Policy

Scope of the Policy

  • definitions of problems behaviours, including bullying, harassment, discrimination, vilification and victimisation
  • practical steps to take if someone experiences problem behaviour.

Policies Trigger Action

Policies Create Process

  • what does that mean?
  • how do I defend myself?
  • what’s the process?
  • how do I fix my relationship with the person who has made the complaint?
  • what’s the outcome here?
  • am I going to lose my job?

Provide Training


Ongoing training

Follow the policy

  • listen
  • take down all the details
  • pull out your policy
  • follow the outlined steps.

Listen in for more on handling problem people in the workplace



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Karen Kirton

Karen Kirton


Founder of Amplify HR — a consulting company in Australia that specialises in enabling businesses to find, grow and keep great people.