The introduction of the Fair Work Commission’s anti-bullying jurisdiction on 1 January 1 2014 means employees can apply for an order to stop bullying at work. This has resulted in an increase in the number of damages claims made against employers which can be costly.
Workplace Bullying is a serious Work Health and Safety issue. Employers have a primary duty to ensure that their employees are not exposed to bullying behaviour.
What is workplace bullying?
Workplace bullying is repeated or unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to their health or safety. A single incident of unreasonable behaviour isn’t considered workplace bullying; the behaviour needs to be persistent and repeated.
Some examples of bullying behaviour include:
- displaying offensive material
- exclusion from work-related events
- teasing, practical jokes or initiation ceremonies
- spreading malicious rumours
- aggressive or intimidating conduct
- belittling or humiliating comments
- unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work.
A conflict isn’t bullying
It’s important to understand what is and what isn’t workplace bullying. Workplace conflict isn’t considered workplace bullying, and the allocation of work or reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner isn’t considered bullying.
Limiting the potential for workplace bullying and having the right policies and procedures in place will limit risk of bullying in a workplace. Once the right policies are in place, it’s vital that every employee, supervisor and manager understands workplace bullying and how to report it within your organisation. Education and awareness are ideal methods for preventing workplace bullying.
If you need help updating your WHS systems to ensure compliance, talk to Recovery Partners today.
Disclaimer – these articles are provided to supply general safety information to people responsible for OHS in their organisation. They are general in nature and do not substitute for legal and/or professional advice. We always suggest that organisations obtain information specific to their needs. Additional information can be found at www.workcover.nsw.au
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