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Despite a national agenda to eradicate workplace bullying through the Fair Work Act’s new bullying laws, many state government employees remain at the mercy of complicated and sometimes ineffective state based practices.
A recent parliamentary report has highlighted the pitfalls of this divided system and calls for more legislation to help bridge the gap.
The report seemed to confirm that when it comes to a culture of workplace bullying a ‘fish’ really does ‘stink from the head down’.
The Department of Defence found its workplace investigation of an IT worker and subsequent dismissal under fire from the Fair Work Commission.
Despite relatively serious allegations of excessive personal internet use in the workplace, when the employer’s HR investigation was put under the FWC’s microscope a number of fundamental flaws were exposed.
An important lesson for any employer who wants to be able to stop employees whiling away their work hours surfing the internet.
Imagine conducting a workplace investigation thought to be watertight.
You’ve sacked two fighting employees.
But then you’re forced to give one his job back!
This employer was faced with that exact nightmare situation.
This recent dismissal decision from the FWC shows how an HR investigation into serious workplace misbehaviour can quickly go from bullet-proof to disastrous because of simple employer errors.
As more and more workplace bullying claims flow in, employers are learning bitter sweet lessons about how the jurisdiction operates in practice.
Here, an employer has successfully avoided having its actions being exposed to the glare of the FWC’s anti-bullying jurisdiction.
This case reinforces the FWC’s jurisdictional requirements for bringing a workplace bullying claim and what employers need to know.
In an apparent win for employers, the FWC has dismissed an employee’s stop workplace bullying order application after he was sacked before his application could be heard.
Although the FWC’s decision turned on a technicality, the devil for employers is in the detail so it is not as comforting as it may seem at first glance.
You would think that all employers by now would have realised that there are no excuses for failing to investigate workplace bullying and harassment.
This government agency found that out the hard way after failing to protect an employee from ongoing bullying and harassment – despite her complaints.
Her resulting stress, depression and anxiety left the employer liable for compensation.
Why did it go so far and what can you do to prevent the same from occurring?
A recent injunction has backfired on an employee who wished to be reinstated to his position.
Less than two months after gaining reinstatement, thinly veiled threats and explicit intimidation of co-workers left the Court with no option but to revoke the order.
The employer was also put under the spotlight – for failing to take timely and genuine attempts to prevent workplace harassment from occurring.
This cautionary tale highlights the risks of not investigating workplace bullying, or at least, failing to investigate properly.
An employer’s glaring failure to manage the legal risks involved with workplace bullying has ended up costing it more than $230,000.
Attempting to classify the offending behaviour as “essentially unremarkable”, this employer drew the ire of Queensland’s Supreme Court.
For employers still unsure of obligations to protect employees against workplace bullying, this is a lesson you cannot afford to miss.
The FWC has rejected a manager’s claim that she had been bullied by two subordinates.
In dismissing the application, a number of enlightening comments were made about the Fair Work Commission’s workplace bullying jurisdiction.
As clarification of workplace bullying legislation continues, employers must remain sensitive to the ways in which the legislation impacts on relationships between employees.
When faced with a violent and aggressive employee who has a history of threatening and anti-social behaviour, it is tempting to ignore established practices and cut procedural corners.
This employer was tested to its limit by an employee who tried ‘every trick in the book’ including intimidation of the HR investigators.
Find out how the employer and its HR investigators managed to stay on track despite extremely trying circumstances.