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FWC Workplace Bullying Order – A Nightmare on Employer Street?

FWC Workplace Bullying Order - A Nightmare on Employer Street?

A recent Stop Bullying Order by the FWC serves as warning to employers of the broader burden that an order could impose on their workplace and potentially, their management prerogative.

The FWC’s Order not only restricted the workplace interaction between the parties, it went so far as to restrict work attendance times and face-to-face communication.

Read on for our analysis of the FWC’s Order and our tips for preventing it happening to you.

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FWC case – Can a boss tell a worker to F*** off?

FWC case can boss tell worker to f-off?

In a recent article, we profiled an unfair dismissal case where the Fair Work Commission had to consider whether a worker swearing at the boss was okay.

In the tradition of ‘truth at times being stranger than fiction’, we now profile a dismissal case involving a boss telling a worker to “F*** off”.

Is it okay for the boss to lose their cool and swear at a subordinate?

What if the boss shows regret later on?

Does it matter if the worker had exhibited a “belligerent, uncooperative attitude” for some months?

Did the boss’s actions amount to an instant sacking?

The FWC had to wrestle with these issues and more …

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FWC case – Is calling your boss a d**kh**d okay?


After being sacked for conduct including swearing at his Leading Hand, this employee thought he would be able to overturn his dismissal by going to the Fair Work Commission.

Unfortunately for the sacked employee, the FWC rejected the employee’s unfair dismissal claim, despite evidence from both the employer and the employee that the use of swear words had been common in the workplace.

Find out more about the distinction the FWC made between ‘descriptive language’ and the employee’s unacceptable workplace swearing; and importantly, how it was applied.

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Workplace Bullying Annual Report Stats – Devil in the Detail?

Workplace bullying annual report stats - Devil in the Detail

The Fair Work Commission’s annual report has revealed interesting statistics about the bullying claims brought in the first 6 months of the new anti-workplace bullying jurisdiction.

Although some commentators have downplayed the number of bullying claims lodged, the FWC’s General Manager has warned that it is “still too early” to draw conclusions about the Commission’s likely workloads in the workplace bullying jurisdiction.

The risk remains for those employers who write off the bullying jurisdiction as ‘much ado about nothing’.

Read on for our analysis.

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‘You can’t handle the truth’ determination by FWC

‘You can’t handle the truth’ determination by FWC

Photograph courtesy of Sony Pictures

HR investigators often encounter evasive answers and dishonest responses from alleged wrongdoers during workplace investigations.

Knowing how to deal with dodgy behaviour and understanding its impact on an HR investigation is an essential requirement for skilled HR professionals.

In a recent unfair dismissal case, the FWC when faced with a sacked worker’s “farrago of lies”, handed out invaluable guidance for dealing with employee dishonesty during an HR investigation.

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Sacked worker’s c-word abuse & ‘blame game’ crashes before FWC

Sacked worker's c-word abuse & ‘blame game’ crashes before FWC

A disgruntled, sacked employee received more than he bargained for when he took his dismissal to the Fair Work Commission.

The employee’s claims of harassment, intimidation and bullying at the hands of his employer failed to impress the FWC, especially when the tribunal heard details of the employee’s insubordinate and abusive conduct towards management.

Read on to find out what the employee did and what the FWC said about it – including the employee’s use of the c-word.

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Sacked urinating worker turns tide on employer at FWC

Sacked urinating worker turns tide on employer at FWC

A recent unfair dismissal decision of the FWC has yet again highlighted the importance of following a proper procedure when conducting a HR investigation into employee misconduct.

Despite serious improper behaviour being committed by the employee in question, the HR Manager’s manner of conducting the investigation didn’t fare well before the FWC.

Find out how it all went wrong for this employer.

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Unfair dismissal despite workplace fight not ‘handbags at ten paces’

Unfair dismissal despite workplace fight not ‘handbags at ten paces’

The FWC has unleashed a scathing attack on this employer’s HR department for leaving two inexperienced employees in charge of a workplace investigation that resulted in the summary dismissal of an abusive employee who had physical contact with a co-worker.

Despite having a valid reason for the fighting employee’s dismissal, a range of additional circumstances made the summary dismissal ultimately unfair.

The moral of this story is that an employer must not forget fair procedural requirements, even when a dismissal appears more than justified.

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‘Vexatious and venomous’ workplace bullying claim dismissed

Vexatious and venomous workplace bullying claim dismissed

An employee has been unsuccessful in obtaining a stop bullying order against her General Manager.

However coming to that conclusion was difficult according to the FWC.

In the employee’s favour, the FWC conceded that much of the behaviour experienced would have caused her stress and distress.

Fortunately for the employer though, most of it came within the ‘reasonable management action’ defence to workplace bullying.

This case is a must-read for managers and supervisors!

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Another workplace bullying claim dismissed

Another workplace bullying claim dismissed

An employer has successfully defended a claim of workplace bullying by relying on the reasonable management action defence.

With more workplace bullying decisions coming through from the Fair Work Commission, employers are receiving much needed practical guidance about the operation of the new bullying laws and when their management actions will be considered reasonable.

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