Anti-Bullying - Fair Work Act Changes
Changes to the Fair Work Act will take effect will take effect 1 January 2014 which will enable the Fair Work Commission (FWC) to deal with Bullying complaints. This is the first time a health issue has been embedded into workplace legislation; previously bullying complaints have been dealt with by WorkSafe.
The legislation allows a worker who has been bullied at work to apply to the FWC for an order to stop the bullying and the FWC must start to deal with the complaint within 14 days. The outcome would be a non-monetary outcome, such as training, warnings, mediation, counselling etc. The order however may give rise to other claims in the future or penalties if the order given is breached and / or a rise in "go away money".
Case law will be required prior to establish how the FWC will generally deal with such claims however; the FWC would still need to be satisfied that bullying has in fact taken place. It is expected that they would investigate including reviewing internal procedures, training, and the dispute resolution model used within the workplace.
It may be timely to review your internal policies and dispute/complaint resolution model, make sure your staff are well trained and understand what Bullying is in the workplace.