Implementation of anti-bullying policies and procedures helps Adelaide restaurant avoid anti-bullying orders

Jennifer Ritchie . Friday, March 04, 2016
Implementation of anti-bullying policies and procedures helps Adelaide restaurant avoid anti-bullying orders

In the Fair Work Commission recently, an Adelaide restaurant was able to prevent being issued with anti-bullying orders as it had implemented sound anti-bullying policies and introduced related training programs since the issue had first been raised. 

In his finding the Commissioner noted that the employer had put in place a series of positive initiatives related to anti-bullying that included an anti-bullying policy and a grievance procedure.

What constitutes bullying?

The Fair Work Act 2009 defines bullying as occurring when ‘a person or group of people repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work and the behaviour creates a risk to health and safety’.  

These behaviours may include:

  • 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 action can you take to prevent issues of anti-bullying arising?

The Fair Work Commission anti-bullying guide outlines actions such as having performance management processes in place and maintaining reasonable workplace goals and standards as some of the things management can implement.  The culture of a business is often the basis from which these types of behaviour stem.  Therefore it may be pertinent to reflect on the leadership styles and behaviours you see in action in your workplace.    

It is also important to note this does not mean you are unable to take action against an underperforming employee.  As the Commissioner pointed out in the case mentioned above, ‘… reasonable management action carried out in a reasonable manner does not constitute bullying’.

This case outlines the importance of not only having the policies and procedures in place, but also building in an effective training program to help mitigate the risk of an employee making an anti-bullying claim.

Contact us today to see how Ritchie Human Resources can guide you through policy implementation.  Or would you prefer to have a comprehensive Compliance Audit conducted?

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