What’s Been Happening in Australia in Relation to Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Bullying from 23 – 29 May 2016

Hospital Training Staff to Report Bullying
The Royal Melbourne Hospital is training staff to anonymously report other hospital workers who raise their voices aggressively, ignore patients or belittle colleagues. This commitment to changing workplace culture has been implemented after 40% of 1763 staff surveyed at the hospital last year said they had witnessed bullying on the job, and one in five said they had experienced it themselves. The “we care” system encourages staff to anonymously report any behaviour that undermines an open harmonious atmosphere.

This system, pioneered by Vanderbilt University, involves a small number of trusted “triage” staff regularly assessing the anonymous reports coming in, and then “care messengers” – senior doctors, nurses and other workers – telling the reported person what has been alleged and asking them to reflect on it. Evidence from US hospitals showed that 80% of people who are reported once never get reported again because they change their behaviour. Another 13% will get reported repeatedly, prompting a more serious discussion with their manager, and a small cohort of recalcitrant staff will end up in formal counseling or disciplinary proceedings which may involve them being dismissed.

Facebook Posts the Basis for Dismissal
Nirmal Singh has launched an unfair dismissal claim after his employment was terminated due to a Facebook post that breached his employer’s social media policy. It is alleged that Mr Singh made “ISIS friendly” posts under another comment from Australia’s hardline Muslim group Hizbut-Tahrir about police worker Curtis Cheng, who was shot dead by Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad last year. It is also alleged that Mr Singh made a concerning post that included images of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Mr Singh has responded by stating that the posts were “sarcastic” and did not threaten or name anyone. Mr Singh is seeking $7000 in lost wages.

Am employee may discipline its employees in relation to postings on social media sites. In order to do this it is important that an Employer has done the following-
1. Has a clear Social Media Policy
2. Educated its staff in relation to the Social Media Policy
3. Any disciplinary action that arises as a result of a breach of the social media policy must only occur after an investigation has established that the employee breached the Policy