New laws are set to target workplace bullying in Australia from 2014, writes TGB employment lawyer Amber Sprague.
Bullying in the workplace need not be as Australia has strict laws in place to aid those who have been the victim of workplace bullying, writes TGB employment lawyer Amber Sprague.
In the past, victims of workplace bullying were left with few options to try and stop bullying from occurring. However, since 1 January 2014, the Fair Work Commission has had anti-bullying powers which are designed to stamp out bullying within the workplace.
If you are subjected to bullying at work, you will be able to lodge a Complaint with the Fair Work Commission. There will be some restrictions on the type of bullying that the Fair Work Commission can investigate. Particularly, the bullying must occur at work (and therefore it is unclear whether bullying via social media will be included) and the bullying must occur more than once.
When you have lodged a complaint, the Fair Work Commission will investigate the bullying allegation and can then order mediation or determination (Hearing). Ultimately the Commission may issue an Order that the bullying is to stop.
Legal representation during the course of this process is not generally necessary, so bullied workers may be able to pursue the matters themselves.
In South Australia some people will be unable to access the new laws, including public sector employees.
It should also be noted that bullied employees also have the option of lodging a workers compensation claim if the effect of the bullying is that they become unwell, either physically or psychologically.