A recent decision handed down by the Full Bench of the Fair Work Commission has confirmed that comments made on the social networking site ‘Facebook’ can amount to bullying at work, within the meaning prescribed by the Fair Work Act.
For the Fair Work Commission to make an order regarding bullying, the applicant must satisfy the Commission that they have been bullied within the meaning of the term as detailed in the Fair Work Act, and further, that the said bullying occurred ‘at work’.
In the recent case, the meaning of ‘at work’ was analysed in detail, and it was found that the definition of ‘at work’ was not just a particular physical workplace attended by staff members, but also included time periods when staff were accessing their social media/Facebook accounts whilst undertaking duties or other activities permitted and authorised by their employer.
Further, it was held that the time/date the Facebook comments were made is irrelevant, and it is the actual action of the staff member accessing those Facebook comments whilst ‘at work’ or undertaking other duties or activities permitted and authorised by their employer which falls within the scope of the Act.
This has serious implications for businesses if they do not have stringent policies in place to guide their employees in respect of the appropriate use of social media and to assist in the prevention and/or minimisation of bullying within the workplace.
If you need assistance with the reviewing or drafting of your businesses social media policies, or you are an employee who feels they may be being bullied at work, please contact one of our dedicated and experienced Gold Coast Lawyers today on 07 5563 8970.