Online harrasment festering in the public service

UNREGULATED online harassment is believed to be festering in the public service for bullying policies do not seem to account for the 24/7 cyber communication.

Felicity Lawrence, from QUT's Education Faculty, is researching the prevalence and impact that negative workplace cyber communication has on employees working in the Australian public sector.

"There is a lot we don't know about cyberbulling in the Australian public service but a preliminary study has found that public servants perceive that this cyber behaviour is occurring," Ms Lawrence said.

"It's happening and I guess it is not surprising when we see that schoolyard cyberbullying is occurring in our society.

"These kids are growing up and potentially bringing their technologies into the workplace and potentially the same attitudes."

To delve more deeply into this phenomenon, Ms Lawrence is now looking for thousands of workers in the state, territory and commonwealth public service to take part in an anonymous online survey to pinpoint the rate and impact cyber bullying has on public servants.

"The Australian public sector is arguably this country's largest employer and is undergoing tremendous change, so it is a great time to be asking Australian public servants about cyberbullying," she said.

To participate in this anonymous survey go to