Practice Area Overview:
If you are being bullied in the workplace, Pace & Associates Lawyers can provide legal advice and assistance to stop it and protect your health, ongoing employment rights and professional reputation.
Bullying in the workplace can be directed downwards from managers to workers, between co-workers, or even upwards from workers to managers. The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) provides that a worker is bullied at work if an individual (or a group of individuals) repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker (or a group of workers), and that behaviour creates a risk to health and safety. It is irrelevant whether the individual, or individuals, who are bullying intend to bully the victim.
Bullying behaviour may involve, for example, any of the following types of behaviour:
- 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
- pressure to behave in an inappropriate manner
What is Not Considered Bullying ?
For behaviour to be considered bullying, the behaviour must be repeated and unreasonable (meaning not reasonable management action) and must create a risk to health and safety.
Reasonable management actions carried out in a fair manner can include: –
- Allocating work to a worker
- Setting performance goals, standards and deadlines
- Transferring a worker
- Allocation and rostering working hours
- Informing a worker about unsatisfactory work performance
- Informing a worker about inappropriate behaviour
- Deciding not to select a worker for promotion
- Constructive feedback
- Performance management processes
- Implementing organisational changes
It is important to keep a factual record of events that includes what happened, dates and times, who was involved, names of witnesses and, where possible, copies of any documents. Most workplaces have policies and procedures for dealing with such cases, and designated representatives you can speak to confidentially and impartially to help you make informed decisions about how to resolve your complaint. In addition, there are a number of government support agencies you can call on for advice.
If you reasonably believe that you have been bullied at work, we can assist you in applying to the Fair Work Commission for an Order to Stop Bullying. Our office can also seek permission from the Commission to represent you at the hearing. To be eligible to make an application for this order, there are no time limits but you must still be working at the business where you are being bullied. If the Commission is satisfied on the evidence that an eligible worker is being bullied and that the bullying is likely to continue, it can make any orders it considers appropriate to prevent the bullying from continuing.
If you feel like you are being bullied at work and wish to lodge a bullying complaint, contact Pace & Associates Lawyers to schedule an obligation free consultation.
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