Bullying and harassment in the workplace – a timely reminder.
Despite the implementation on 1 January 2014 of the anti-bullying legislation, it appears many organisations are still battling what is a complex and insidious issue, as seen in an article featured in the Sydney Morning Herald on May 26th, where a Young doctor blows the whistle on senior bully neurosurgeon.
Whilst investigations in this case are still being undertaken and the outcome is a way off, this is a timely reminder to all organisations that no workplace is impervious to bullying.
We have previously written on the anti-bullying laws and how they affect businesses. Part one of that blog series covered the definition of bullying, minimising the risks of bullying and quick action to curtail bullying. Part two covered the recent decisions related to bullying cases. If you missed those blogs here is a link to them:
As a rule of thumb, business owners confronted with accusations of bullying occurring in their workplace should:
- Act promptly;
- Treat the matter seriously;
- Maintain confidentiality;
- Ensure procedural fairness;
- Act impartially;
- Support all parties;
- Not victimise a complainant;
- Communicate the process and outcomes;
- Keep adequate records; and
- Get specialist legal advice
It is extremely important for business operators and managers to understand their responsibilities and educate all people within the workplace about bullying. This will assist in eradicating bullying in the workplace. Business owners and managers need to be fully aware of their obligations under both the anti-bullying laws and the Work Health and Safety laws as they can be personally involved in either stop bullying applications or WHS prosecutions.Back