Resources: Blog

FWC issues interim stop bullying order for family run business


Family Portrait

Workplace bullying can often have a significant impact on workplace morale; however it can become compounded when the bullying occurs in small family run businesses where anti-bullying policies and procedures may not be in place.

Workplace bullying can often have a significant impact on workplace morale; however it can become compounded when the bullying occurs in small family run businesses where anti-bullying policies and procedures may not be in place.

This is the circumstance that the Fair Work Commission (FWC) recently considered when determining to make, by consent, interim orders to stop bullying in a family retail tyre business in Ari Kypuros [2017] FWC 3082.

The Applicant (AK) was employed by Mag Wheel & Tyre Pty Ltd (the Company). The Company is owned by Costa Kypuros (CK) and AK’s own father, Theo Kypuros (TK). AK alleged that CK engaged in bullying conduct toward him, including by physically intimidating him, ridiculing his personal achievements and undermining him in front of other employees and customers.

The stop bullying application was made against a history of alleged violence between AK and CK and a business dispute between TK and CK. CCTV footage filed in the FWC showed incidences of physical altercations by AK toward CK. Further, in April 2017 the Victorian Magistrates Court made an Interim Intervention Order against AK which required him not to commit family violence against CK.

Commissioner Wilson had regard to this background and the recent decision of Lynette Bayly [2017] FWC 1886 concerning interim orders in an anti-bullying application (see our blog Stop right now: Employer prevented from proceeding with investigation and disciplinary process). In determining to make the interim orders, Commissioner Wilson was satisfied that the behaviour alleged by AK from CK (and equally by CK from AK) could fall within the definition of workplace bullying.

Significantly, Commissioner Wilson held that in the circumstances, the consideration of the balance of convenience included not only the parties but also other persons in the workplace who either had experienced the negative aspects of the conduct or could be drawn into the dispute in the future.

In this regard, Commissioner Wilson stated that there were concerns that given the conduct between the parties to date, if the interim orders were not made, there was the potential that the conduct would escalate further and that it may have a detrimental effect on the health (either physical or mental) on the parties or others.

Accordingly, by consent, interim orders were made which include that:

  • While at work, AK and CK must not directly communicate with one other by any means or be within 10 metres of each other;
  • While at work, AK, CK and TK must not make comments to each other or other workers which are abusive, offensive to or disparaging of each other and about other workers; and
  • The Company and the Directors must submit to the FWC a proposal for workplace bullying training and the implementation of anti-bullying in the workplace.

The FWC has demonstrated this year that it is prepared to issue interim orders in anti-bullying applications. The interim stop bullying orders made by the FWC highlight the wide range of orders that can be made in such matters (including requiring individuals to stop certain behaviour) and the importance for businesses regardless of size and structure, to adopt and implement anti-bullying policies and procedures.


Similar articles

The onus and presumption in adverse action matters

It’s on you

Under the general protections provisions in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act), it is unlawful for a person to take adverse action against another person for a proscribed reason. One of the features of the general protections provisions under the FW Act is the presumption that adverse action was taken for a proscribed reason unless it is proven that the adverse action was not taken for that reason.


Webinar: It Doesn't Matter Where You Work - Managing bullying and harassment in today's workplaces

With many of us, some for the first time, in the midst of working remotely, it's important that employers are vigilant in ensuring their employees behave appropriately at all times regardless of the method of interaction or communication.


Commission orders parties to stop yelling in the workplace

Quiet, please

The Fair Work Commission recently issued interim orders in an application for orders to stop bullying, which required the parties to, amongst other things, treat each other with respect and dignity, and to not yell in an unreasonable manner.


Commission orders employer to pay compensation as a result of its procedurally unfair disciplinary process

Procedurally disastrous

When investigating allegations of misconduct against an employee in the workplace, employers must ensure that any ensuing disciplinary process is kept distinct from and separate to from the investigation.


The importance of WHS refresher training

Not a “one and done” thing

It is an expected and necessary part of work health and safety (WHS) plans that all new workers receive relevant WHS training.


Casual Terms Award Review 2021


In March 2021, the casual employment amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) introduced a new statutory definition of “casual employee” and an entitlement to casual conversion as one of the National Employment Standards (NES).


Let's talk

please contact our directors to discuss how ouR expertise can help your business.

We're here to help

Contact Us
Let Workplace Law become your partner in Workplace Relations.

Signup to receive the latest industry updates with commentary from the Workplace Law team direct to you inbox.