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Workplace Bullying Policy

Version 1.0 Updated 21 Dec 2017
Policy Manage

On 1 January 2014, the new anti-bullying laws in the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (Fair Work Act) commenced operation. These laws give the Fair Work Commission (Commission) the power to deal with allegations of bullying between an employee and their employer and the authority to make orders to stop and prevent the bullying behaviour from occurring.

These laws only apply to a business conducted by a constitutional corporation, the Commonwealth, a Commonwealth Authority, a body incorporated in a Territory or business or undertaking is conducted principally in a Territory or Commonwealth place. If you are a sole-trader or partnership operating in a State, the laws do not apply to your business.

Under these anti-bullying laws, a worker may make an application to the Fair Work Commission to make an order for the bullying to stop. The Commission cannot make an order for the payment of money under these powers.

Bullying is a serious risk to the health and safety of workers. Under the relevant work health and safety legislation and associated regulations and codes of practice ('Work Health and Safety Legislation'), the primary duty to eliminate or minimise, as far as reasonably practicable, the risks to health and safety (including psychological health) in the workplace is imposed on employers or a person conducting a business or undertaking ('PCBU') (depending on your State or Territory).

This policy has been developed to assist employers in meeting their legal obligations under the Work Health and Safety Legislation and the Fair Work Act and thereby to eliminate or minimise bullying in the workplace.

The policy provides that bullying will not be tolerated and presents mechanisms for disciplining those who engage in such behaviour in the workplace. In addition, the policy provides formal and informal mechanisms for dealing with any complaint relating to bullying.

All workers (and others in the workplace, where possible) should be made aware of the policy, the standards that are expected of them and the consequences for breaching the policy. The policy can be effectively communicated in a number of ways, such as:

  • conducting face to face training sessions — this is generally the most effective way to communicate the policy to staff and to train staff to recognise and deal with bullying
  • team meetings
  • including the policy in induction manuals and procedure manuals
  • including the policy on the company’s intranet, on notice-boards, or in newsletters
  • sending email messages and/or;
  • including the policy as an attachment to payslips

Training sessions about the policy should (as a minimum) take place as part of the induction of new workers and in specific training sessions for existing workers. However, your workers should be reminded of the policy on a regular basis. This may involve conducting regular ‘refresher’ sessions at which workers are taken through the policy, sending out emails in relation to the policy and where it can be accessed, or using one of the other methods set out above.

Please note under Work Health and Safety Legislation, an employer must, as far as reasonably practicable, consult with its employees or others carrying out work, before making decisions on health and safety matters, including bullying. If there are health and safety representatives then they must be involved in the consultation process. Consultation must be carried out when developing policies and procedures relating to bullying, including complaint procedure. Consultation involves sharing information with workers and health and safety representatives, allowing then to express views and taking those views into account.

 

 

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