Employee not happy after a warning?

Q. Is you employee not happy? I have just received an an application for an order to stop bullying from the Fair Work Commission after I gave my employee a written warning. What is all this about?

A: Under the Fair Work Act 2009, a worker has the right to apply to the Commission for an order to stop bulling where they genuinely believe that they have been bullied at work.

The focus of the anti-bullying jurisdiction is to address these complaints of bullying quickly so that if it is occurring that further bullying can be prevented, and people can resume mutually safe and productive working relationships. The Commission usually handles the matters raised by mediation, or conference/hearing if mediation is not successful or appropriate.

Rest assured, bullying does not include reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable way. For example, although uncomfortable for an employee, a fair and reasonable performance management process that is conducted in accordance with legislative requirements is not considered bullying. Therefore, employers shouldn’t be dissuaded from managing employee underperformance through proper processes. However, it is important for employers to understand what constitutes a fair and reasonable performance management process in the first place, and it is highly recommended that managers/business owners get trained up in this space by an HR expert.

To be clear, bullying occurs when a person or a group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work, and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety resulting in the employee not happy. Behaviours that might constitute bullying include:

  • aggressive or intimidating conduct;
  • belittling or humiliating comments;
  • spreading malicious rumours;
  • teasing, practical jokes or ‘initiation ceremonies’;
  • exclusion from work-related events;
  • unreasonable work expectations, including too much or too little work, or work below or beyond a worker’s skill level;
  • displaying offensive material; and
  • pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner.

Employers who receive an application for an order to stop bullying will be required to provide a written response to the Fair Work Commission. Industryus HR are experts in assisting employers resolve these issues. Call us immediately on 07 5655 4047 or click here if you receive an application for an order to stop bullying and require assistance.

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