6 Steps to Preventing Unnecessary Workplace Bullying Claims
The changes to workplace bullying laws have come into effect on 1 January 2014.
The Fair Work Amendment Act 2013 allows a worker who is being bullied at work, or believes he/she is being bullied at work, the right to bypass his/her employer and apply directly to the Fair Work Commission (FWC) for an order to stop the bullying. The FWC will then have 14 days to action the complaint. Should the FWC determine that the worker has been bullied and there is a risk of this bullying continuing, the FWC has the power to make any order it deems appropriate to ensure the bullying does not continue, although no financial damages can be awarded. Should the orders be breached, however, the employer faces breach penalties of up to $10,200 for an individual, or $51,000 for a body corporate.
With the changes to workplace bullying laws, employers will likely see an increase in speculative claims of workplace bullying from employees who are under performance management or disciplinary action. So how can business owners and employers prevent unnecessary workplace bullying claims?
Advice Do the following to prevent any instances of bullying and avoid unnecessary workplace bullying complaints to the FWC.
- Make sure that you have a current Workplace Bullying Policy. Have clear systems in place to address any instances of workplace bullying.
- Issue your Workplace Bullying Policy to all employees. Ensure that everyone in your business or company has a clear understanding of the policy and what is considered workplace bullying, and that management understands their obligations in dealing with any complaints and claims.
- Educate workers on what exactly is workplace bullying, as well as the impact that bullying can have on one’s wellbeing. Train your managers and staff to be aware of what bullying is and isn’t – for example, reasonable employee performance management and/or discussions about how to improve performance are NOT workplace bullying.
- Review and update your bullying and harassment policies and procedures regularly, and conduct ongoing awareness and prevention training for managers and staff.
- Foster a positive workplace culture, as its benefits impact the business as a whole.
- Should you witness any type of bullying or harassment, or should someone make a complaint, act immediately to address the situation. Seek advice early on so that things do not get out of control.
By Jessica Shanahan HR Advisor,
Webinar: Prevent workplace bullying claims and protect your business
Join us for a webinar on Mar 05, 2014 at 11:00 AM AEDT.
On 1 January 2014, amendments to the Fair Work Act regarding workplace bullying laws came into effect. The Fair Work Commission expects 3,500 more bullying complaints to be made every year as a result of the new workplace bullying laws, but there is a real danger that many of the claims will be from workers who allege that performance and conduct management is bullying. How do you protect yourself and your business from unnecessary workplace bullying claims that can take up your valuable resources? Join Key Business Advisors on Wednesday, 5 March 2014 at 11:00am AEDT to gain a clear understanding of what exactly is considered bullying at work and how the amendments to the Fair Work Act affect you and your business. This free, live webinar will help you: – make sure you understand the raft of legislation on bullying, harassment, and sexual harassment to protect your business from bullying or harassment claims – get practical tips on workplace investigations and responding to bullying claims – implement appropriate policies and performance management systems
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.