November 19, 2014
The issue of workplace bullying is now gaining more attention than ever. From 1 July 2014, Part 6-4B of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) took effect, and has serious implications.
In addition to the traditional actions available, including under discrimination law, OHS, negligence, criminal charges or breach of contract or breach of common law employer duties, the Part creates a separate and independent means of redress casting a much wider net.
“Bullying” is now generally defined as repeated unreasonable behaviour toward a worker, while at work, that creates a risk to health and safety. Theoretically, this could go beyond verbal or even physical assaults and extend to cover even things such as an unrelenting workload or office gossip.
Although such an action cannot of itslf result in the payment of workplace bullying compensation to the bullying victim, the Fair Work Commission ‘may make any order it considers appropriate … to prevent the worker from being bullied at work’, which could have significant disruptive effects for the business of any employer involved.
If you are an employee who feels bullied, contact our employment law solicitors before it results in actual damage to your health and safety, and even dismissal due to reduced performance. If you are an employee concerned with the conduct of some staff, contact our employment law solicitors.