Workplace bullying and harassment has increasingly been in the spotlight as the “next hazard to manage”. From the 1st of January 2014 the Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 will be in effect, allowing any worker who ‘reasonably believes’ that they have been bullied at work, to apply for a Stop Bullying order. The Fair Work Commission will begin to deal with the application within 14 days of lodgement. The definition of worker is as described in the (harmonised) Work Health and Safety Act 2011.
What is bullying?
Bullying is defined in the amended Act as:
- repeated unreasonable behaviour;
- directed towards a worker or a group of workers;
- which creates a risk to the worker’s health and safety eg. psychological health.
What is NOT bullying?
Bullying should not be confused with:
- reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner, including performance management and disciplinary action
What does this mean?
If a person in your workplace feels they have been bullied and does not feel they are able to seek help or resolve this internally, they can lodge a claim through the fair work commission against the alleged bully which may lead to a Stop Bullying order. A breach of such order can result in personal fines for the alleged bully and the company if procedures or management process is found to contribute.
The consequences for employers may include damage to the workplace culture, loss of productivity and the potential for the bullied worker claiming that their employer has failed to control bullying in the workplace.
For more information please contact Emily Carter at Safety Action on (03) 9690-6311