When you’re faced with a difficult issue like workplace bullying, it can be hard to know who to turn to. And even if you do know who to contact, there’s sometimes uncertainty about what they can help with and how much they do.
If you’re being bullied at work, it’s important to know how Fair Work Australia works, and how it can help.
Firstly, it’s good to know that Fair Work doesn’t just deal with for-profit businesses, and the legislation captures many activities.
For example, if you’re part of a not for profit or volunteer group, or running a school fete, Fair Work can act to stop bullying.
It’s also important to know what Fair Work can do if you’re being bullied by someone who you’re not sure is an employee.
If you’re being bullied by a volunteer, delivery person, contractor, student or even a member of the general public, you might be entitled to make a Fair Work claim against them.
For employers, this shows the importance of having an anti-bullying policy in place, and policies to carry out proper investigations if an incident of workplace bullying does occur.
The Work Health and Safety Act thoroughly outlines the specific steps and procedures which organisations must take in order to minimise bullying in their workplace.
Since 1 January 2014, the Fair Work Commission has had the ability to become involved in complaints about bullying and can direct workplaces to ensure bullying is prevented and stopped.
In the event that bullying does not stop, it will be a breach of the Fair Work Act and a fine will be imposed.
Once Fair Work receives an application, they must start to deal with it within fourteen days. Fair Work will determine if the matter should be set down for mediation or referred straight to a hearing. Generally, Fair Work will attempt to resolve the matter at mediation.
If you need more advice about your case and whether it is a matter for Fair Work, we’re happy to help. Get in touch.
John Morrissey has been a practising Sydney solicitor for 30 years, and for the past 20 a sole practitioner and the principal at JFMLAW.
His main focus employment law, advising small to medium-sized firms and their employees of their rights and obligations.
For many years he was a lecturer at UTS to students obtaining Masters in Human Resources Management with a focus on performance management and creating a culture of delivery in workplaces. John has acted for a significant number of employers, not only in developing a performance based culture in the workplace but also solving particular problems that arise relating to unfair dismissal, contract disputes, improper use of intellectual property or other property as well as enforcements of restraints of trade.
John is very happy to speak to any employer who has an issue on a free of charge basis by a phone call. Please feel free to ring John at anytime up to 6pm most days.
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