Bullying and Harassment

Workplace bullying is subjective and often difficult to define.

The Fair Work Commission has the powers to “stop” bullying under the Fair Work Act.

There is no monetary compensation for an “employee” or “worker” claiming to have been bullied at work.  Application can only be made by a “worker” alleging they have been bullied.

A “worker” is bullied at work if:-

  • It occurs when the worker is at work
  • The bullying takes place by an individual or group of individuals
  • It occurs repeatedly
  • The behavior is unreasonable
  • The behavior creates a risk to health and safety

Examples of bullying might include:-

  • Verbal abuse and ridicule
  • Unjustified criticism or complaints
  • Spreading gossip or false malicious rumours about a person
  • Threats of dismissal
  • Sabotaging of work, not passing on messages, etc.

The alleged bullying must be repeated and unreasonable.

Employer’s defence to bullying claims:

The employer can defend any bullying claim on the basis that it is reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable fashion.  That might include:-

  • Performance management plans and process
  • Disciplinary action
  • Injury and illness processes
  • A decision not to promote a “worker”
  • Change of workplace change and restructuring

Once a “worker” is no longer employed, the bullying claim cannot continue.

Who do Bullying claims apply to?

Bullying claims apply to “constitutional corporations”. That is companies which are corporations.

Who do Bullying claims not apply to?

Sole traders, partnerships or trusts with an individual trustee.

Contact us for further information 1800 875 404

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