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Process for Anti-Bullying Complaints Released

Posted by Robert O'Neill on Nov 29, 2013 1:51:00 AM
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workplace bullyingApproved policies on how to deal with bullying complaints are already available to the public for comments. It basically covers how the Fair Work Commission proposes to handle complaints on bullying.

Initial Assessment and Application

The employee will lodge the application. Then the application will be evaluated to ensure it is valid and complete which will be forwarded to the employer and in some cases, may be forwarded also to the bully. Making a contact with the employer is allowable. Before any judicial hearings, all participants will be given an opportunity to be heard.

Meanwhile, the team assigned in anti-bullying submits to the Panel Head a report stating whether the case involves some potential jurisdictional issues, the origin of the alleged conduct (to determine whether if it fits the process of mediation), reasons that may point out the depth of urgency and other important factors that would arrive at a decision regarding the process of said application.

Proper consideration will be given to decide whether the employee has used options for internal resolution, or if there is still a need for any on-going internal investigation. The Panel Head will have the final decision if the matter will be delegated to a Member for determination or mediation.

Mediation

This is voluntary and confidential and will only be presented if necessary, with reference to the nature of the parties and the allegations made as indicated in the application. The goal of mediation is to offer solution to the issues, so that the parties can have a co-operative and constructive relationships with each other.

The complaint will immediately proceed to hearing, once mediation is not a solution or it does not solve the complaint. It will be a public hearing.

The Member will then convene a preliminary conference of the concerned parties, to comprehend the issues involved, the parties' position and the workable approach to the matter. Either mediation or conciliation may also utilised at this stage.

Feedback

There will be no fixed date for comments to be submitted. However, the Commission has decided that it would be appreciative of any feedback towards mid to late December of 2013, just in time for the commencement of the new anti-bullying jurisdiction set on 01 January 2013. The Commission recognizes this is a fresh territory for anyone. Hence, it will evaluate the new system in July 2014 and July 2015.

There has been some friction about the potential complexities for employers, particularly the chance of dealing with claims raised by an employee in the Commission and at state level, or perhaps having the internal investigations discontinued abruptly.

Eric Abetz who is the Minister for Industrial Relations has kept this issue open to legislative reforms and has said, "there should be a filter for the bullying claims and to the credit of the Fair Work Commission, they are putting in rules and systems that may well provide that filter. Now we are prepared to legislate (but) if the Fair Work Commission can achieve the same outcome by rules and procedures, I will just say well done to them".

General advice warning

The information on this site is of a general nature only. It does not take your specific needs or circumstances into consideration. You should look at your own situation and requirements before making any decisions. Please contact our Occupational Health and Safety Consultants for further information.

Topics: Blog, Safety Management Systems