It’s All About Bullying

If you were looking for it in the media then you would see that there is a lot being written about bullying. Of course there’s good reason for this to be so.

A recent survey has just been released that states that 1 in 3 people are victims of workplace bullying- no surprise from where I stand.

In addition to this survey the Australian Government has been focused on bullying for over half a year. It started out last year with a parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying. From that came recommendations and from the recommendations we now have the Bill to amend Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Watch out for its progress through Parliament. Estimated time of enactment is July 2013.

bullying free zone
The number one recommendation in relation to workplace bullying is that people who are bullied at work will now have the opportunity to make a complaint as the victim to Fair Work Australia. This is a HUGE change from the current arrangement and a step in the right direction for managing workplace bullying.

The benefit of the proposed new system is that it is quick (an action must be commenced within 14 days of the application being made), it has the power to make an order to stop bullying (but not award the victim money) and it is cost effective.

As a bonus to WA the recommended National definition is the current WA definition, namely, bullying is repeated inappropriate or unreasonable behaviour directed to a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.

The final bit of new bullying news is that a new organisation called Bully Free Australia Foundation has just been launched to provide care and support for adolescent victims and their families. The foundation is set up to provide support for young people at school and in the workplace.

All of this bullying news is a good reminder to check your current workplace policies to make sure there is a clear, accurate definition of workplace bullying and the consequences for engaging in it at work. In addition make sure you have a clear, detailed policy and procedure in relation to how to manage workplace complaints.

And finally when was the last time your staff were trained in relation to appropriate workplace behaviours? The courts have stated regular training is required in order to minimise employer liability. Call EEO Specialists today to talk about your training needs.