Changes to the Fair Work Act 2009 in relation to keeping workplaces free from bullying are effective from 1 January 2014.
What are the implications for employers? The provisions of the amended legislation will allow a worker who suffers bullying in the workplace to take the matter directly to the Fair Work Commission bypassing their employer; the definition of ‘worker’ extends to ‘contractors’. If the worker is successful in their action the Fair Work Commission has the power to make any orders it deems appropriate to prevent the worker from being bullied in the workplace – this is other than reinstatement, payment of compensation or other monetary penalties.
Employers have time, prior to the commencement of these provisions, to review policies and procedures, setting out expected standards of behaviour in the workplace, ensuring robust procedures for dealing with bullying claims as well as engaging in staff training across their organisation. Policies and procedures need to include a firm line on use of social media which is also a potential avenue for bullying and vilification between members of the workforce.
Compliance Essentials is available to assist employers to prepare and be ready for this legislative change; contact us on 1300 602 880 or via www.complianceessentials.com.au.