Resources: Blogs

As a matter of good practice, it's important that employers have in place an anti-bullying policy

Blogs
|

Stop Bullying Orders not required after employer changes its ways

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides that the Fair Work Commission may only make orders to stop bullying if it is found that the worker has been bullied at work and if there is a risk that the bullying will continue.

Ms LP [2016] FWC 763

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act) provides that the Fair Work Commission (the Commission) may only make orders to stop bullying if it is found that the worker has been bullied at work and if there is a risk that the bullying will continue.

The FW Act also sets out a list of factors that the Commission is to consider if it was to make such an order. For example, the factors include whether there were any procedures in place and available to resolve workplace grievances or disputes.

In Ms LP, an application for an order to stop bullying was lodged by LP (the Applicant) who was employed as a Food and Beverage Attendant by a family owned restaurant in South Australia (the Employer). The Applicant alleged bullying conduct by the Manager/Co-Director/Owner, the Accounts Clerk and a lawyer acting on behalf of the Employer as well as by the former Head Chef and former Supervisor (the Respondents).

The matter was subject to preliminary and conciliation conferences where the Commission made a number of recommendations, including:

  • the development and implementation of a behavioural standards policy which included a grievance procedure;
  • monitoring of the implementation of the behavioural standards policy; and
  • anti-bullying training to be provided to managers and employees.

The matter proceeded to a hearing where it was held that some allegations of unreasonable conduct had taken place. At the time, Commissioner Hampton sought submissions as to whether stop-bullying orders were required given that some of the individual Respondents were no longer employed, that the Employer had taken measures which would reduce the risk of bullying conduct and that the Applicant had not returned to work for some time.

The Applicant submitted that there was a risk that the unreasonable conduct would occur in the future as some of the conduct took place after anti-bullying policies were implemented. Accordingly, she argued that stop bullying orders should be made by the Commission. The Employer and the Respondents opposed the orders sought by the Applicant.

Commissioner Hampton ultimately declined to make stop-bullying orders because they were not necessary and would not assist in resuming working relationships. He noted that the Employer had now implemented positive measures including the grievance procedure, with anti-bullying training provided to all employees (and expected to be provided to all future employees) and adjusted rosters. In declining to make the orders, Commissioner Hampton did recommend that some of the Applicant’s proposals which included formalising job descriptions and displaying anti-bullying material for employees, be adopted.

As a matter of good practice, it is important that employers have in place an anti-bullying policy which specifies what is and what is not bullying behaviour, how to make complaints about alleged bullying conduct, what is reasonable management action and what action the employer will take in response to complaints of workplace bullying.

 

Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog, or from links on this website to any external website. Where applicable, liability is limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

 

Similar articles

Employer found liable for workers compensation despite worker’s unreasonable perceptions

Fact or fiction

A recent decision of the New South Wales Personal Injury Commission serves as a reminder of the differing standards of proof when determining liability for claims of bullying and/or harassment under workers compensation laws and the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth).

Read more...

Prevention is better than a cure

Planning end of year work celebrations

As the end of another year approaches, employers are understandingly planning a well-earned opportunity for employees to celebrate the year that has been.

Read more...

Bullying allegations used as a tactic to direct attention away from an employee’s misconduct

Bullying tactics

It is not uncommon for employees to raise allegations against Employers in order to divert attention away from, or attempt to excuse their own misconduct.

Read more...

Commission confirms inappropriate touching constituted sexual harassment warranting summary dismissal

‘Scuse you

Sexual harassment in the workplace has been the subject of significant reform over the past few years, with an even greater onus on employers now to take proactive measures to minimise or eliminate the risk of sexual harassment in connection with work.

Read more...

Employers delay sinks bid for injunctive relief

Speak now

When seeking to enforce a restraint, it is important that employers seek to enforce the restraint in a timely manner to prevent future or an ongoing breach. Any delay will be considered by the courts when assessing whether it is reasonable to enforce the restraint.

Read more...

Two-year post-employment restraint on hairdresser found to be unreasonable

Splitting hairs

When it comes to drafting post-employment restraints in employment contracts, it is important for employers to consider the purpose of the restraint and whether or not the restraint reasonably serves that purpose.

Read more...

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.

Sign up to receive the latest industry updates with commentary from the Workplace Law team direct to your inbox.