From the beginning of 2014, the new anti-bullying provisions under the Fair Work Act 2009 (‘FWA’) came into effect in an attempt to stamp out workplace bullying, and although the Fair Work Commission is unable to make compensation or damages orders, it can make a ‘stop-bullying order’ and a contravention of that order can give rise to a right for an application to the court for civil remedies.
A ‘stop-bullying order’ can include orders that:
- prevent further bullying;
- investigations are undertaken;
- counselling, coaching or mentoring support is provided;
- an apology is made;
- a workers roster is changed or other workers are transferred;
- updating of workplace policies regarding bullying and implementation of those policies.
The definition of ‘bullying’ under the FWA is indistinct and includes a range of elements including repeated, unreasonable behaviour by an individual/group of individuals towards the worker at a workplace which is constitutionally covered and which creates a risk to the workers health and safety.
Examples of bullying have been provided in the Anti-Bullying Benchbook and include:
- belittling or humiliating comments;
- spreading of malicious rumours;
- unreasonable work expectations;
- exclusion from work-related events.
It is more important than ever for Employer’s to ensure that their workplace has an appropriate anti-bullying procedure in place and that it is properly implemented.
If you are an employer who is concerned about their obligations under the FWA, or if you are an employee who believes they are being bullied at work, then contact one of our experienced Lawyers at Affinity Lawyers on 5563 8970 to arrange an initial consultation, which is free of charge, today.