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Anti-Bullying Amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth)

New anti-bullying amendments were introduced on 1 January 2014 and many commentators have predicted there will be a sharp rise in bullying claims over the year.

The Fair Work Commission has released the number of applications (44) received in January 2014 by employees seeking relief from workplace bullying, bearing in mind the new legislation only commenced on 1/1/14.

Employers should be aware how easy it is for an employee to now seek relief (at no cost) from alleged bullying.

This necessitates an employer having a policy in place – normally one policy covers discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying – and providing the necessary training to employees.

If you have not already done so, consider developing a policy on workplace bullying and outline your procedure on how bullying allegations will be managed in your workplace. Workplace Partners can assist in you developing policies and procedures that effectively protect your business against bullying claims.

It is also important to clearly distinct between performance management and bullying. It is easy for managers to cross the line when performance managing and as such, managers should have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and the boundaries.

Workplace Partners can also give you guidance on employee training in these areas.

No doubt at some time or another there will be some businesses that will face an anti-bullying application from an employee to the Commission. Therefore your best risk management strategy is to have a policy in place and introduce employee training in this area (plus the areas of discrimination and sexual harassment) – a policy on paper is not enough, you must also train your employees.

For more information or help contact us on 1300 116 400 or [email protected]

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