Since 1/1/14 the Fair Work Commission has been empowered to deal with bullying complaints. A recent report shows that only a handful of claims have been substantiated with most cases failing the burden of proof test requiring the applicant to prove repeated unreasonable behaviour.
A number of key points have emerged from cases dealt with so far this year:
1. Bullying behaviour prior to 1/1/14 can be the subject of a claim
2. As employers, make sure you review your anti-bullying policies and grievance procedures. It’s not enough to have polices alone; you need to ensure training is provided to all employees and that your management team reflects best-practice by demonstrating impeccable behaviour
3. When investigating a claim of bullying offer support to both the complainant and the alleged bully or bullies until the process is over. Prefer to use an external HR specialist to conduct the investigation
4. Most important of all – take action immediately you become aware of a complaint. Even if there is no complaint and you witness an episode of bullying you must be proactive – do not sweep it under the carpet. It can destroy your business if you let it go.