Bullying in the Workplace

Fair Work Act 2009 was amended in 2013 to provide the Fair Work Commission with broad powers to make orders to prevent workplace bullying.

Workplace Bullying

Bullying, whether in the school yard or at work, has become a major issue.  Bullying in the workplace is particularly prevalent. Bullying is defined in various ways but generally is considered to occur when a person repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards another person and, which behaviour, creates a health and safety risk.

Bullying takes many forms.  It can, in a sense, be readily identified as aggressive and physical intimidation but can be less obvious, such as the way in which work is delegated or provided to an employee. Whatever occurs the bullying must be considered to be unreasonable and repeated.

The Fair Work Act was amended in 2013 to provide the Commission with power to make orders to prevent bullying.  It means that as from 1 January 2014 an employee is able to apply to the Commission to obtain an Order to prevent them from being bullied at work. The application is made by the worker who believes that they have been bullied. The Commission has already received a number of applications and doubtless more will flow.

Author: Peter Wilson