Chen said it was important for workers who believed they were being bullied to have evidence to substantiate claims of bullying.

"Stories are told and sometimes stories are exaggerated so it is important to look at the evidence," she said. "Chief executives like Dianne Maxwell are required as part of their role to manage, peer review, provide feedback, to warn, discipline - it's not always an easy job, and people don't generally like being given feedback and managed, even if that is done constructively.

"There will always be friction in workplaces but there is a difference between friction which is legal and the illegal behaviour which is repeated."

She said it was important for people to recognise that sometimes people have a bad day and may not be as tactful as they should be when delivering an order or giving feedback but that on its own was not classed as bullying if it was occasional.

"Some people will say 'well, I got bullied because my manager criticised my work', they might have provided some constructive feedback but that's their job."

The State Services Commission found Maxwell had not bullied current or former staff based on the definitions of bullying outlined by WorkSafe and the Commission for Financial Capability.

The investigation defined bullying as: "Unwanted behaviour that you find offensive, intimidating or humiliating." That behaviour had to have been repeated and had a "detrimental effect on your dignity, safety and wellbeing".

Maxwell acknowledged there were some communication issues with her management style and that she would learn to provide feedback in a more constructive fashion, Chen said.