Over the first month of its new workplace bullying jurisdiction, the Fair Work Commission received 44 applications from aggrieved employees.
On February 12, the FWC issued its first ruling; dismissing a workplace bullying claim on the grounds of multiple defects within the application.
The employee who made the application failed to adequately complete it. Deficiencies included:
- Questions left unanswered or incomplete
- Failure to supply correct address
- Failure to pay application fee
When first contacted by the FWC about these inaccuracies, the employee advised that they would re-submit an amended application by January 20. When the amended application was not forthcoming, the employee was given until February 5 to continue the claim. With no subsequent communication from the employee, the application was dismissed for failing to adhere to the legislation requirements.
Lessons for Employers
Employers no longer have any excuses. They must now:
- Understand the steps to prevent workplace bullying; and
- Know how to investigate and respond to a workplace bullying allegation.
Despite the dismissal of this application, employees have clearly started to take advantage of the FWC’s new workplace bullying jurisdiction with only more applications expected over the coming months.
The FWC is obliged to deal with workplace bullying applications in an expedited manner (14 days), meaning there is little time to rest on your laurels once an application is made.
1. B.D.  FWC 1019 (12 February 2014)