While employers no doubt support the removal of bullying from the workplace, there is a risk that the anti-bullying changes can be used by workers (or unions) to inhibit valid management actions. Some bodies have suggested it may also create a new form of unfair dismissals.
The changes state that bullying will not occur if the conduct is “reasonable management action” that is “carried out in a reasonable manner”. However, similar provisions in workers’ compensation legislation have proved difficult for employers to successfully rely upon.
All businesses must familiarise themselves with the changes.
They should also ensure that they have the appropriate anti-bullying, grievance and discrimination policies in place, and that managers and staff are trained in them.
Those documents will be crucial evidence of your practices, and must also be considered by the FWC before deciding to impose any orders.
If you have any questions about your new obligations, or wish to review your policies, contact us.