When we think of Bullying in the workplace we commonly assume it occurs at the hands of a co-worker but bosses can often times also be bullies, a problem they are being warned about by authorities.
Not only does bullying disrupt work on the site, setting back productivity but it creates a very stressful and negative atmosphere where accidents can result. Because workers that are bullied are under so much pressure, it is difficult for them to concentrate and this could compromise their safety and the safety of everyone on site.
Many times bullying incidents go unreported because of fear of victimisation. Commonly younger or more inexperienced workers who are being bullied may not have the knowledge of how to react correctly in this situation in addition to fearing their superiors and often those bullying them. Changes to the Fair Work Act could change all this for the better because workers can go directly to Fair Work and no longer need to follow the chain of command within their company.
Proposed changes to the Fair Work Act will mean that employers who do not have effective procedures in place to manage workplace bullying may be subjected to wide-ranging orders by the Fair Work Commission which may even include penalties of up to $33,000.
The new reform favours workers who fear victimisation from their employer or HR department because they would no longer have to consult their boss or HR manager before going directly to Fair Work. They would be able to go straight to Fair Work Australia with their complaints.
What’s interesting about the reform is that even unintentional bullies will be held accountable for their actions such as those managers who do not address bullies in their workforce.
Read what this post on SafetyCulture.com.au reported on the proposed changes:
One of Australia’s leading experts in human resource management and workplace investigations, Christina Turner said many organisations were unaware of the proposed workplace law reforms which were recently recommended by the House of Representatives Standing Committee and largely accepted by the Federal Government.
“The reforms mean employees who feel they have been bullied or harassed can go directly to Fair Work Australia without consulting their manager or their internal human resources manager, she said.
“Many managers are unaware that there has never actually been any state or federal legislation which specifically covers bullying until now.”
Mrs Turner said there was no “national definition of bullying” and because of that it can be largely misinterpreted in the workforce, leaving senior managers and company directors liable to potential litigation.
“Even unintentional bullying will be captured under the new reforms,” she said.
“Classic bullying is often obvious but avoiding a problem staff member because they are difficult to manage can also be classified as bullying.
“Anybody in a position of control could be liable.”
Hopefully being held liable will force employers and those in charge to address bullying and stop the vicious trend in our workplaces which has led to the suicide death of so many workers.