In November 2020, the AEAV commenced a survey of Ambulance Victoria staff to seek information about their workplace experiences with bullying, sexual harassment, and discrimination. A small number of former employees also completed the survey. The survey results are intended to support recommendations for change in Ambulance Victoria, to ensure that bullying, discrimination, and harassment within the workplace is addressed and the current negative workplace culture is improved.
Around 350 people completed the survey, highlighting some serious cultural issues within the service. More than 90% of respondents had either experienced or witnessed negative workplace behaviour. The most shocking statistic was for those that had reported behaviours, almost 80% of people felt that they had experienced some form of retribution – examples included being left off courses because of lodging a complaint, having upward relieving opportunities removed and counter complaints made by managers.
The survey reviewed participants experiences with making complaints to the PCU. The survey results reflected that participants felt that the PCU was not independent and did not conduct investigations effectively. For the participants that dealt with the PCU, only 54% had an investigation conducted about the complaint, only 33% received an outcome and only 21% were referred to an external investigator. Unsurprisingly, only three people felt that the process was fair and objective. There is a perception that the PCU only exists to support the senior management of AV, and many of the comments from the survey about this issue are particularly damning.
Participants were asked what could reduce the incidence of negative workplace behaviours at Ambulance Victoria. Some of the top methods listed were:
- Reviews and audits of bullying and sexual harassment cases on an annual basis, looking for patterns of behaviours
- Improved communication as a part of the investigation process
- Agreed external investigators for complaints
- Regular consultation with HSR’s to see where patterns are occurring
- Trained mediators
The AEAV are campaigning to improve workplace culture at Ambulance Victoria, through ensuring staff have access to the methods above.
If you are experiencing bullying and harassment or want to discuss the Clean Up AV campaign, please contact the AEAV at 03 9287 1713 or at [email protected]