The Fair Work Act Amendment for bullying will come into force on the 1st of January 2014. This allows persons who feel unable to seek recourse within the business to go directly to the Fair Work Commission for assistance. The Commission may investigate and/or issue a stop-bullying order directing the company to take any action (other than monetary compensation) they see fit to prevent an ongoing threat to the health and safety of the worker.
The key preventative measures that employers can take to protect their workers psychological safety, and manage potential claims, are to ensure that there are robust policies and procedures in place with clear guidance, support for workers, and open and accessible reporting channels. The duty of care to monitor worker’s health and safety includes psychological health. Remember, watching for early warning signs could help prevent a bullying issue before damage occurs.
One of Australia’s leading employment lawyer’s, Andrew Douglas of M+K Lawyers, pointed out at a recent Safety Action briefing that for each major bullying or stress claim they have investigated in recent years, there had been at least 3 to 4 months of warning signals that the employer could have picked up on to address worker concerns, before it escalated.
For more information on this topic, call Emily Carter on T (03) 9690 6311.